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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Biden confirms safe return of 4-year-old American captive from Gaza



Meanwhile, a pro-Palestinian religious group called Religion ⁢for Eternity demonstrated near the Qatari embassy ‍in Washington,DC on Sunday, calling for a release of all hostages and denouncing Qatar’s support for Hamas, which runs‌ Gaza.

Religion for Eternity⁣ members said the Arab state had used its relationship with the United States to pressure Israel to agree‌ to the prisoner exchange.

“How many ⁣Arab nations and or terror groups are using proxies to carry out⁤ their violence?” the group said in a statement Sunday. ⁢”We should all be deeply ‍disturbed⁤ by ⁤this process and the functions of these ‍terror groups.”

The group acknowledged it‌ does not know the details of the hostage negotiation, but nevertheless said it views Qatar’s involvement with “deep suspicion.”

“The nation that finances terrorist organizations must be held accountable for those terrorists’ actions,” the statement said.

NANTUCKET, Mass. — A 4-year-old American⁣ girl captured after ⁣seeing her parents slain by Hamas fighters who stormed southern Israel ⁣from Gaza on Oct. 7 was among 17 hostages released Sunday ⁣as part of an Israeli-Hamas prisoner exchange, President Joe Biden said.

Abigail Edan, who turned 4 while ⁢in captivity, became the third person with U.S. ⁤citizenship freed by Hamas during seven weeks of bloodshed‍ between the Iranian-backed Palestinian militia that controls the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military.

Relatives told CBS News last week the child, in the event that she were released, would go ⁤to stay ⁢with family members in ⁤Israel‌ who have already taken in her two older siblings.

Abigail, ⁢a dual U.S.-Israeli​ citizen, was freed as part of a deal to swap 50 hostages held by the Palestinian ​militant group for 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails over a⁤ four-day truce period.

It was ⁤the first halt in the conflict since Hamas launched its surprise cross-border raid on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according​ to Israeli officials. Hamas characterizes its armed activities as resistance against Israeli occupation.

In response, Israel vowed to ‌destroy the Hamas militants who run Israeli-occupied Gaza, bombarding the ⁢crowded coastal enclave and mounting a ground offensive in the north. Palestinian health authorities say Israel has killed some 14,800 people, roughly 40% of them children.

Biden said the‌ toddler had witnessed Hamas fighters killing her parents ‍during the Oct. 7 raid and had been held captive​ since then.

“What‌ she endured is unthinkable,” the president told a news conference.

“We hoped ⁤and prayed today would‌ come,” Liz Hirsh Naftali‍ and Noa Naftali, Edan’s great​ aunt and cousin, said in a statement, thanking Biden and the Qatari government for their ⁣work in getting Abigail released. “There are no words to express⁣ our relief and gratitude that Abigail is safe⁢ and coming home.”

Biden spoke with members of the girl’s family in the United States and Israel after her ⁣release, ​the ⁤White House said⁤ in a statement.

From captivity to relatives in Israel

Noa Naftali had said in a CBS News interview last week that‍ if Abigail were released she would‌ go to stay with ‍an aunt, uncle and grandparents living in Israel.

Her siblings were already ⁤there, Noa Naftali said, and the family can provide “the love and support that they need after losing their parents.”

Abigail was on her way to a hospital for medical examination, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Sunday.

Her grandfather, Carmel Edan, told Reuters ⁤he “simply ​could not believe” she had‌ been returned, thanking Biden “for all ⁤the help he’s offered us.”

According to Noa Naftali, Abigail had‍ been held captive in Gaza with neighbors also taken from the Kfar Aza ‌kibbutz, where the toddler, her parents and her siblings lived.

Abigail’s mother was killed in front of the girl and her two older siblings, Noa Naftali said, adding that ⁤Abigail then ran ⁢outside to her father, who picked her up‌ but was “gunned down while holding her.”

Abigail “crawled ⁤out ‍from underneath him and went ov

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  1. Thrilled to hear about the safe return of the young American from Gaza! Shows some good leadership decisions by Biden. Let’s hope for more of such great news!

  2. Agree and good grammar: Absolutely! Biden’s firm leadership and decisive actions are definitely showing positive results. Saving the life of a young American is commendable. Let’s hope the momentum continues.


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