American girl, 4, freed as Hamas, Israel release prisoners

November 27, 2023 7:23 am

A Red Cross vehicle, as part of a convoy believed to be carrying hostages abducted by Hamas militants during the October 7 attack on Israel [Source: Reuters]

Hamas freed 17 hostages held in Gaza, including a four-year-old American girl, on Sunday while Israel was also seen releasing prisoners on the third day of their truce.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had successfully transferred 17 hostages from Gaza. Hamas said it had handed over 13 Israelis, three Thais and one with Russian citizenship.

Reuters TV footage showed Palestinians being freed from Israeli prisons on Sunday.

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The release of some of the hostages captured when Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7 was expected to be mirrored by the Israelis freeing another 39 Palestinian prisoners as on previous days in the truce.

Hamas said it wanted to extend the truce if serious efforts were made to increase the number of Palestinian detainees released by Israel.

Biden said he hoped the pause in fighting can go on as long as prisoners are getting released. He hoped more Americans would be released by Hamas although he did not have firm news.

Biden said the 4-year-old hostage, Abigail Edan, had witnessed her parents being killed by Hamas fighters during their Oct. 7 raid into Israel and had been held since then.

“What she endured is unthinkable,” Biden said at a news conference in the U.S.

The four-day truce is the first halt in fighting in the seven weeks since Hamas killed 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages back into Gaza.

In response to that attack, Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who run Gaza, bombarding the enclave and mounting a ground offensive in the north. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza health authorities say, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday met security forces inside the Gaza Strip and indicated that the campaign was far from over.

“Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the strength, the power, the will and the determination to achieve all the goals of the war, and that is what we will do,” he said.

Netanyahu is expected to speak to Biden later on Sunday.