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Biden confirms second American hostage released by Hamas

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President Biden on Wednesday confirmed that a second American hostage has been released by Hamas amid the fragile pause in fighting in the Middle East.

Biden told reporters that Liat Atzili, an Israeli American, is “safe in Egypt just across the border.” The president added that he has spoken with Atzili’s mother and father.

“Things are moving well,” Biden said, adding that Atzili “should be home soon.” 

The American-Israeli citizen was taken by Hamas following the group’s brutal and deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7. She is a mother of three, a high school teacher and a guide at Israel’s Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, according to a statement from Biden later on Wednesday. Her husband, Aviv, is still being held hostage by Hamas.

“Jill and I are deeply gratified that she will soon be reunited with her three children and her father, who have been wracked with worry for her safety. And we remain determined to secure the release of every person taken hostage by Hamas during its brutal terrorist assault on Israel on October 7, including Liat’s husband Aviv,” Biden said in the statement.

The government of Israel published a list of 14 hostages, 10 of which were Israeli citizens and four Thai nationals, who were released by Hamas on Wednesday. The list included 49-year-old Atzili. She is from Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel, according to the Times of Israel.

Atzili is the fourth American hostage released overall.

Her release comes during a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which has been extended to allow for the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

“The deal to pause the fighting in Gaza and facilitate the release of hostages — a deal the United States worked intensively to secure, sustain, and extend — is now in its sixth day. This deal has delivered meaningful results. Nearly 100 hostages have been returned to their loved ones,” Biden said in his statement.

Biden earlier this week announced that 4-year-old American Israeli citizen, Abigail Idan, was among the 13 hostages released Sunday from Gaza. The president has praised cooperation among the leaders of Qatar, Jordan, Egypt and others throughout the region and pledged to continue working through diplomatic means until all hostages were released.

Hamas took some 240 hostages into Gaza during the Oct. 7 surprise attack that left at least 1,200 Israelis dead. Despite the pause in hostilities, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to resume and continue fighting until all hostages are freed.

Updated at 6:26 p.m.


Source: The Hill

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