29 February 2024,   03:04
Hamas releases 17 more hostages, including Israeli American girl

Israel said Sunday that Hamas militants have released 17 more hostages held in Gaza, including a 4-year-old Israeli American girl who U.S. President Joe Biden said witnessed her parents being killed by Hamas during its attack on southern Israel seven weeks ago, writes VOA.

The girl, Abigail Edan, was among 14 Israelis and three foreign nationals turned over to the International Committee of the Red Cross on the third day that Hamas has released hostages in exchange for Israel freeing Palestinians who had been jailed for various offenses.

The U.S. leader spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later about the release of the hostages during Israel’s planned four-day pause in its offensive on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, the narrow territory along the Mediterranean Sea.

The White House said in a statement that Biden and Netanyahu s also discussed the pause in the fighting and surge in much needed additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza: “The prime minister thanked the president for his tireless efforts to help broker and fully implement this deal. The leaders agreed that the work is not yet done and that they will continue working to secure the release of all hostages”.

The truce is set to end Tuesday, although Israel has said it will extend the cease-fire by a day for every additional 10 hostages Hamas releases beyond the deal now in place - a release of 50 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel released 39 more Palestinian prisoners later Sunday.