Biden says 4-year-old US hostage in Gaza is released By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

By Jeff Mason

NANTUCKET, Massachusetts (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Sunday said a 4-year-old U.S. hostage was released from captivity in Gaza and returned to Israel as part of a truce.

Biden said the hostage, Abigail Edan, had witnessed her parents being killed by Hamas fighters during an Oct. 7 raid into Israel and had been held as a hostage since then.

“What she endured is unthinkable,” Biden said at a news conference.

Biden said he would speak later in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to swap 50 hostages held by the Palestinian militant group for 150 prisoners in Israeli jails over a four-day truce period.

It is the first halt in the conflict since Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.

In response to that attack, Israel vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who run Gaza, bombarding the enclave and mounting a ground offensive in the north. Palestinian health authorities say some 14,800 people, roughly 40% of them children, have died.

Biden said he hopes other American hostages would be released by Hamas as well. He said he would like to see the pause in the fighting extended as long as prisoners are being released.

“We will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones,” Biden said.

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