(WBAP/KLIF) — Hamas terrorists released 4-year-old Abigail Edan to Red Cross custody on Sunday, marking the first release of a U.S. hostage since the October 7 massacre in Israel.
Edan, whose fourth birthday passed while she was in captivity, is among 14 Israelis and 2 other foreign nationals released on Sunday. Edan was taken captive on Oct. 7 after Hamas terrorists murdered her parents. She is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen.
Hamas released 13 Israelis and seven foreigners late Saturday in exchange for 39 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Earlier Saturday, the militant group delayed the second round of swaps for several hours and claimed that Israel had violated the terms of a truce deal. The last-minute snag created a tense standoff on the second day of what was meant to be a four-day cease-fire. On the first day of the four-day cease-fire, Hamas released 24 of the roughly 240 hostages taken during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Israel freed 39 Palestinians.
While there was uncertainty around the details of the exchange, there was optimism, too, amid the scenes of joyous families reuniting on both sides. On the first day of the four-day cease-fire, Hamas released 24 of the about 240 hostages taken during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison. Those freed in Gaza were 13 Israelis, 10 Thais and a Filipino.
On Saturday, Hamas provided mediators Egypt and Qatar with a list of 14 hostages to be released, and it has been passed to Israel, according to a Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to talk about details of the ongoing negotiations. A second Egyptian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the details. The head of Egypt’s government press office and the state-run Qahera news outlet said 13 hostages would be exchanged for 39 prisoners.
Under the truce agreement, Hamas will release one Israeli hostage for every three prisoners freed. Israel’s Prison Service said earlier Saturday it was preparing 42 prisoners for release. It was not immediately clear how many non-Israeli captives may also be released.
Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners, during the four-day truce, all woman and minors.
Israel has said the truce can be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed — something U.S. President Joe Biden said he hoped would occur.
Separately, a Qatari delegation arrived in Israel on Saturday to coordinate with parties on the ground and “ensure the deal continues to move smoothly,” according to a diplomat briefed on the visit. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details with the media.
(Copyright 2023 WBAP/KLIF Newsroom News. All rights reserved. Contains material from the Associated Press.)