Biden meets 4-year-old Abigail Edan, an American who was held hostage by Hamas

President Joe Biden has met at the White House with Abigail Edan, the 4-year-old American girl who was held hostage in Gaza for several weeks at the start of Israel's war with Hamas

Aamer Madhani
Wednesday 24 April 2024 21:42 BST

President Joe Biden met Wednesday with Abigail Edan, the 4-year-old American girl who was held hostage in Gaza for several weeks at the start of the war.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the White House meeting with Abigail and her family was “a reminder of the work still to do” to win the release of dozens of people who were taken captive by Hamas in an Oct. 7 attack on Israel and are still believed to be in captivity in Gaza.

Abigail, who has dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship, was taken hostage after her parents were killed in the attack and was released nearly seven weeks later. She was the first U.S. hostage freed by Hamas as part of a deal with Israel to exchange hostages for Palestinian prisoners early in the war. Abigail turned four during her time in captivity.

“It was also a reminder in getting to see her that there are still Americans and others being held hostage by Hamas,” said Sullivan, who attended Biden's meeting with the girl and her family. “And we’re working day in, day out to ensure all of them also are able to get safely home to their loved ones. ”

Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Biden spoke to the girl soon after her release in November. Thursday's meeting was one of mixed emotions for the president.

“Abigail and her two siblings had their parents killed on October 7th, so they’re still living with the tragedy and the trauma of that. Abigail, of course, is living with the trauma of being held captive for many weeks,” Sullivan said. “But this was a moment of joy as well, because she was able to be returned safely to her family. ”

Biden's meeting with Abigail came as Hamas on Wednesday released a recorded video of an Israeli American still being held by the group.

The video was the first sign of life of Hersh Goldberg-Polin since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. It was not clear when the video was taken.

Goldberg-Polin, 23, was at the Tribe of Nova music festival when Hamas launched its attack from nearby Gaza. In the video, Goldberg-Polin is missing part of his left arm.

Witnesses said he lost it when attackers tossed grenades into a shelter where people had taken refuge. He tied a tourniquet around it before being bundled into the truck.

Sullivan said U.S. law enforcement officials are assessing the video but declined further comment.

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