Day Three of the Israel-Hamas truce moved faster than the two earlier days and resulted in the release of an Israeli-American child who turned four years of age just days ago while in custody.
Abigail Mor Edan had witnessed Hamas terrorists murder her Mother on Oct. 7 in Israel. Her father swept her up in his arms and was running for safety when Hamas fatally shot him and he fell to the ground. The three-year old toddler then ran to a neighbor’s home where she was later kidnapped by Hamas and taken as a hostage to the Gaza Strip.
Abigail turned four-years of age just days ago while in captivity.
The purpose of this temporary truce is to facilitate the exchange of 50 Hamas-held hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in a three to one ratio - three prisoners for every hostage.
Sunday’s exchange resulted in the first release of any of the ten American hostages held in the Gaza Strip.
President Joe Biden expressed sympathy and relief that Abigail had been released on Sunday at a news conference on Nantucket Island where he is spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.
“She’s free and she’s in Israel now,” President Joe Biden said. “Those who are wrapping Abigail in love and care and the supportive services she needs, she’s been through a terrible trauma.”
“There are no words to express our relief and gratitude that Abigail is safe and coming home,” said Liz Hirsh Naftali and Noa Naftali, Edan’s great aunt and cousin. “We have to keep pushing. We will continue to stand with the families of all the hostages still held captive.”
President Biden also expressed his desire to expand this four-day truce in order to get all the hostages released.
It has been reported that 20 Americans died on Oct. 7 when Hamas invaded Israeli and killed 1,400. Of the approximately 240 hostages subsequently taken to Gaza, 10 Americans were kidnapped.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed that 17 additional hostages were released on Sunday.
This third wave of the exchange brings the total number of freed hostages so far to 41.
Israel said it would extend the pause in fighting beyond four days if Hamas agrees to release additional hostages per the terms of the Israel-Hamas agreement.
Hamas said it wanted to extend the truce if serious efforts were made to increase the number of Palestinian detainees released by Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Israeli security forces inside the Gaza Strip on Sunday 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," the prime minister stated.
Netanyahu is expected to speak to Biden on Sunday.
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