Hamas released another group of hostages on Sunday, including 14 Israelis and three foreign nationals, as part of the deal struck between Israel and Hamas last week. Among the hostages freed was a 4-year-old American child with dual Israeli citizenship, Abigail Edan, whose parents were killed in a Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month. President Joe Biden confirmed the release of the American child during an address from the White House.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated on NBC's Meet the Press that the White House had reason to believe that three American citizens, including Edan and two women, would be released during the four-day pause in fighting. However, Sullivan also noted that they had not received proof of life for any of the hostages. He emphasized caution in dealing with a terrorist group like Hamas, stating that they cannot be certain about the outcome until it happens.
Hamas has now released a total of 58 hostages since Friday, with Friday's release including 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals, and one Filipino citizen held captive in Gaza. On Saturday, Hamas released an additional 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals after a brief delay due to claims that Israel was not meeting the terms of the agreement, which Israel denied. In exchange for the hostages, Israel has released 39 Palestinian prisoners on both Friday and Saturday.
The agreement between Hamas and Israeli officials stipulated that Hamas would release a total of 50 Israeli hostages, all women and children, who were taken captive in the October 7 attack on Israel. It is estimated that Hamas has taken around 240 hostages, including 10 believed to be Americans.
The question of whether the four-day pause in fighting will be extended beyond Monday to allow for the release of more hostages remains unanswered. Israel has stated that it would extend the pause for an additional day for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas beyond the agreed 50. The United Nations has overseen the distribution of humanitarian aid, with 187 aid trucks entering Gaza during the pause in fighting. The extension of the deal now depends on Hamas's response.