Biden credits ‘extensive US diplomacy’ for Hamas hostage release but said it’s ‘only a start’ as no Americans have yet to be released and he was unsure when they’d be freed from Gaza
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President Joe Biden on Friday credited ‘extensive U.S. diplomacy’ for getting hostages released from Hamas but said it’s ‘only a start’ as no U.S. citizens have yet to be released. 

He told reporters that he wasn’t sure when the first U.S. citizens would leave Gaza, as two U.S. women and four-year-old Abigail Mor Edan are thought to be among the hostages who were kidnapped during Hamas’ brutal October 7 terror attack on Israel.

Biden addressed the nation Friday afternoon from Nantucket’s White Elephant Hotel, as he’s spending Thanksgiving vacation with his family on the Massachusetts Island, staying at a $34 million waterfront compound.

‘We don’t know when that will occur but we expect it to occur,’ Biden said when asked when Americans would be freed. ‘And we don’t know what the list of all the hostages are and when they’ll be released, but we know the numbers that are going to be released.’ 

‘So it’s my hope and expectation it will be soon,’ the president added. 

President Joe Biden on Friday credited 'extensive U.S. diplomacy' for getting hostages released from Hamas but said it's 'only a start' as no U.S. citizens have yet to be released

President Joe Biden on Friday credited ‘extensive U.S. diplomacy’ for getting hostages released from Hamas but said it’s ‘only a start’ as no U.S. citizens have yet to be released

He said he had been hoping to get news about the U.S. citizens being held hostage before he addressed the press.  

‘In the next hour or so we’ll know what the second wave of releases are. And I’m hopeful that is as we anticipate,’ Biden said.

He called today’s releases – said to be 13 Israelis, 10 Thai prisoners and one Filipino citizen – ‘the start of a process.’ 

‘We expect more hostages to be released tomorrow, and more the day after and more the day after that,’ he said. ‘Over the next few days we expect that dozens of hostages will be returned to their families.’

Abigail Mor Edan lost both of her parents in Hamas' bloody October 7 attack on Israel and is believed to be the youngest U.S. citizen in the terror group's hands. She turns four-years-old today

Abigail Mor Edan lost both of her parents in Hamas’ bloody October 7 attack on Israel and is believed to be the youngest U.S. citizen in the terror group’s hands. She turns four-years-old today 

He acknowledged that there were two American women and one four-year-old, Edan, who remain among the missing.

Edan’s fourth birthday is today.  

‘We also will not stop until we get these hostages brought home and an answer to their whereabouts,’ Biden pledged.

The president also acknowledged that the U.S. didn’t know what condition the American hostages were in. 

The White House had confirmed earlier Friday that there were no U.S. citizens in the first group of hostages released by Hamas

Earlier Friday Biden was briefed multiple times by his national security team on the latest developments regarding the hostage release from Gaza, the White House said.

‘This morning I’ve been engaged with my team as we begin the first difficult days of implementing this deal,’ Biden said. ‘It’s only a start but so far it’s gone well.’ 

So far, 25 people have been freed since hundreds were kidnapped and taken into the territory by the terror group in its October 7 attack on Israel

The president noted how that group of hostages included ‘an elderly woman, a grandmother and mothers with their young children, some under the age of six years old.’ 

Hostages who were abducted by Hamas gunmen during the October 7 attack on Israel are handed over by Hamas militants to the International Red Cross

Hostages who were abducted by Hamas gunmen during the October 7 attack on Israel are handed over by Hamas militants to the International Red Cross

Dr. Jill Biden (left) touches her husband President Joe Biden's (right) arm as they depart a room in Nantucket's White Elephant Hotel that the White House used for the president to deliver remarks about the hostage release in Gaza

Dr. Jill Biden (left) touches her husband President Joe Biden’s (right) arm as they depart a room in Nantucket’s White Elephant Hotel that the White House used for the president to deliver remarks about the hostage release in Gaza 

‘All these hostages have been through a terrible ordeal and this is the beginning of a long journey of healing for them,’ Biden said. ‘The Teddy bears waiting to greet those children at the hospital are a stark reminder of the trauma these children have been through at such a very young age.’ 

On Thursday, as the president and first lady Jill Biden delivered Thanksgiving pumpkin pies to the Nantucket Fire Department, Biden told reporters, ‘I’m keeping my fingers crossed,’ when asked if Edan would be among the first hostages released. 

Edan is the youngest known U.S. citizen being held by Hamas.

‘When I think about that on Friday is Abigail’s fourth birthday and that she should be home with her family and with her sister and brother and she isn’t right now,’ Edan’s great-aunt Liz Hirsh Naftali said on CNN, choking up as she spoke.

The toddler was reportedly being held by her father, photojournalist Roy Edan, when he and her mother, Smadar Edan, were shot and killed by Hamas terrorists. 

‘It’s like you get your emotions, you have to keep them in check, because if not you think about nine month old children, little girls, little boys, mothers and you just hope that there’s somebody holding these little children,’ Naftali said. 

‘When people ask that, I’m not a politician, I’m not a diplomat, I will believe it when I see them walk out, be driven out and they are free,’ Naftali also said. 



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