update deskIsrael at War

Biden hosts freed Israeli child hostage Abigail Edan in Oval Office

"Our time together was a reminder of the work we have in front of us to secure the release of all remaining hostages," said the U.S. president.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with freed Israeli child hostage Abigail Edan on April 24, 2024. Credit: X/U.S. President Biden.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with freed Israeli child hostage Abigail Edan on April 24, 2024. Credit: X/U.S. President Biden.

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted in the Oval Office on Wednesday freed Israeli child hostage Abigail Edan, who was released from Gaza on Nov. 26 on the third day of a truce between Jerusalem and Hamas.

“Last year, we secured the release of Abigail, a 4-year-old who was being held by Hamas. She’s remarkable and recovering from unspeakable trauma,” Biden wrote on X on Thursday.

“Our time together yesterday was a reminder of the work we have in front of us to secure the release of all remaining hostages,” he added.

A White House official was reported as saying that during the meeting, the president “simply let her play like any 4-year-old. She played in the Oval Office and crawled under the table with the famous picture of Kennedy as a child.”

When Edan was freed, Biden noted that she had turned 4 during her 49 days in captivity.

“Today, she is free, and Jill [Biden] and I, together with so many Americans, are praying for the fact that she is gonna be alright,” the U.S. president said at the time. “You know, she’s free and she is in Israel now. And so those who are wrapping Abigail in love and care. The supportive services she needs. She’s been through a terrible trauma.”

“You know, her mom was killed in front of her when her kibbutz was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October the 7th,” continued Biden. “Abigail ran to her dad, who then was gunned down, gunned down as well while using his body to shield little Abigail. She then ran to a neighbor for help, where they were all taken hostage.”

“What she endured is unthinkable,” he added. “Thank God, she’s home. I just can’t imagine the enjoyment. I wish I were there to hold her.”

Biden and 17 other world leaders issued a joint statement on Thursday calling on Hamas to immediately free all of the hostages and to accept a ceasefire.

“We strongly support the ongoing mediation efforts in order to bring our people home,” the leaders stated. “We reiterate our call on Hamas to release the hostages, and let us end this crisis so that collectively we can focus our efforts on bringing peace and stability to the region.”

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