Biden calls for Gaza truce to continue as four-year-old hostage released

US

Joe Biden has called for the truce between Hamas and Israel in Gaza to be extended after more hostages were released on Sunday.

The latest captives to be freed include four-year-old dual Israeli-American national Abigail Edan, whose parents were reportedly killed in the 7 October attacks.

The US president said her father was “gunned down while using his body to shield little Abigail”, who then ran to a neighbour’s house where she was taken hostage alongside another family.

“What she endured is unthinkable,” Mr Biden told a news conference.

He added: “Thank God she’s home… I wish I were there to hold her.”

Israel-Gaza latest: IDF says 17 hostages transferred to Red Cross

It came as another 17 hostages were released by Hamas on Sunday night, including 13 Israelis, three Thais and a Russian.

Another 39 Palestinian prisoners, were released by Israel on Sunday as part of the deal.

The release comes as part of an agreement between the two sides for a four-day truce, which is due to end on Monday night.

Image:
Joe Biden at the news conference on Sunday

But Mr Biden said he hoped the “humanitarian pause” could be extended to allow more captives to be freed – and for more aid to be taken into Gaza.

He told reporters in Nantucket, Massachusetts: “that’s my goal, that’s our goal, to keep this pause going beyond tomorrow, so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief to those in need in Gaza.”

Mr Biden said the US would “not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones,” while he also emphasised that “innocent children in Gaza are suffering greatly as well”.

The president said a total of 58 hostages had now been freed by Hamas.

He is due to hold further talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Sunday.

Read more:
The Palestinian prisoners who could be released by Israel

Who are the first 26 Israeli hostages released by Hamas?

The Israeli Defence Forces said 13 of the latest hostages to be freed were now back in Israel, while the four others were being taken to Egypt.

Under the terms of the four-day truce, Hamas will release a total of 50 hostages, while Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners.

The agreement had been at risk of collapse earlier on Saturday when Hamas’s armed wing accused Israel of breaking some of its terms, before it was salvaged following mediation by Qatar, Egypt and the US.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player


2:41

Could truce be extended?

Prior to Sunday, 26 Israeli hostages had been released by Hamas, including 13 on Friday and 13 on Saturday. A further 14 Thai nationals and one Filipino were also been freed.

Irish-Israeli schoolgirl Emily Hand, who had initially been feared dead, was among those freed on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, 78 Palestinian women, children and teenage prisoners were in turn released by Israel as part of the deal, including 39 on Friday and 39 on Saturday.

A total of around 240 hostages were taken by Hamas during its attack on 7 October, in which more than 1,200 people were killed.

More than 14,000 people have been killed since then in Gaza, including more than 9,000 women and children, according to UN estimates.

Articles You May Like

Tesla fights back against Oklahoma politicians trying to shut down its stores
Young girl dies after being buried by sand while digging hole on beach
‘Unwell’ Assange fails to attend court hearing – as wife claims he would ‘not survive’ extradition to US
Nintendo shares fall nearly 6% after report that the Switch 2 will be delayed until 2025
Trump breaks silence on Navalny’s death – but makes no mention of Putin