Published1 hour ago
A four-year-old Israeli-American girl who was kidnapped by Hamas during its 7 October attack in southern Israel was among the 17 hostages released by the group on Sunday.
Avigail Idan was just three at the time she was taken hostage from her home, where her parents were attacked and killed by Hamas gunmen.
She turned four while she was held hostage by Hamas.
President Joe Biden said she had been through a “terrible trauma”.
Speaking to reporters, he said that those around Avigail will be surrounding her with “love and care.”
“Today she’s free, and Jilly [first lady of the US Jill Biden] and I, together with so many Americans, are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright,” he said.
President Biden said Sunday’s hostage releases was result of “intensive US diplomacy”, adding he was hopeful that more American hostages will be released in the coming days.
“We continue to press and expect that additional Americans will be released as well,” he said, adding “we will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones”.
Fourteen of the 17 hostages were IsraelI and three of them were Thai nationals. Among the 14 Israelis nine of them were children.
Avigail was in the Kfar Aza kibbutz on 7 October and escaped from the house she was in during the attacks.
She was taken in by her neighbours, the Brodutch family, but they were also abducted by Hamas.
Some members of the Brodutch family were among the hostages released on Sunday, including four-year-old Oria, his eight-year-old brother Yuval and their 10-year-old sister Ofri.
Their mother, 40-year-old Hagar Brodutch was also released.
The other released hostages include Chen Almog-Goldstein, 48, and her children Tal, eight, Gal, 11, and Agam, 17, who were abducted from their homes in Kfar Aza on the day of the attack. Chen’s husband, Nadav, and their 20-year-old daughter, Yam, were killed by Hamas.
Also released were sisters Dafna and Ela Elyakim, aged 15 and eight respectively. They were taken from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on the day of the attack, and were part of a family group whose capture was live-streamed by the attackers themselves.
The other hostages released were 25-year-old Roni Krivoi – a dual Israeli-Russian national, working as a sound engineer at the Supernova musica festival, 84-year-old Elma Avraham who had lived at Nahal Oz for nearly 50 years prior to her kidnap, and 62-year-old Adrienne Aviva Seigel who was taken from her home in Kfar Aza along with her husband Keith, aged 64.
Israel’s prison service meanwhile has confirmed the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners as part of the four-day truce between Hamas and Israel.
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