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First American Among Third Group Of Hostages Released By Hamas

Hamas released a third group of hostages — including Abigail Edan, the first American — Sunday as the four-day ceasefire between Israel and the terrorist group continues.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the status of the third group of hostages, stating that “based on the information” given by the Red Cross, 14 Israeli hostages and three foreign national hostages were released, according to an IDF post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The release of hostages comes as a four-day ceasefire negotiated by the Qatari government was agreed to by Israel and Hamas. Within the terms of the agreement, Hamas agreed to release 50 hostages they kidnapped Oct. 7 in exchange for 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prison.

IDF authorities confirmed that “as of now” 13 of the hostages are within Israeli territory, with four additional hostages being released to the “Rafah Crossing.”  One of the 13 hostages was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital, according to CNN.

The Israeli prime minister’s office released some of the hostages’ names, showing nine hostages under 18 years of age. The two youngest are only four years old; there are four others between 40 and 84 years old, per Israeli officials.

Of the three foreign nationals identified is Abigail Edan, a four-year-old American dual citizen who was kidnapped Oct. 7 by Hamas in Israel, according to CNN. Edan’s parents were reportedly both killed in front of her during the attack, with her father reportedly using his body as a shield to protect the four-year-old, according to the outlet.

“She turned four just two days ago,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated on CNN prior to the confirmed release. “She has been through hell. She had her parents killed right in front of her and has been held hostage for the last several weeks,” Sullivan said. “But I am going to say that we have growing optimism about Abigail and we will now watch and see what happens.”

President Biden commented on the release of Edan, stating she is receiving the “supportive services she needs,” highlighting the “terrible trauma” she has been through.

“Today she’s free, and Jill and I — together with so many Americans — are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright.”

Edan is one of three American hostages reportedly determined to be among the 50 hostages to be released by Hamas, according to Sullivan, who stated the U.S. is still expecting two mothers. However, there is only one more day within the four-day truce and it is unclear if the U.S. has confirmed the two remaining Americans will be in the group released on Monday.

AUTHOR

HAILEY GOMEZ

General assignment reporter.

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