'What she endured was unthinkable': Biden reacts as Hamas frees young American hostage

Abigail Edan was released by Hamas on Sunday. Credit: AP

An Israeli American toddler who turned four while being held hostage by Hamas is one of the latest to be handed to the Red Cross during a four-day pause in fighting in Gaza.

Abigail Edan, whose parents were killed in the Hamas attack of October 7, was the first American hostage to be freed when Hamas orchestrated its third exchange on Sunday.

Speaking in the United States following news of her release, President Joe Biden said: "Thank god she's home. I just can't imagine the enjoyment. I wish I was there to hold her."

On Sunday, Hamas released 17 hostages, including 14 Israeli and three Thai.

It's hoped the terror group will release 50 hostages over the course of the four-day pause in fighting, while Israel has said it will free 150 Palestinian prisoners over the same period.

The hostages released on Sunday ranged in age from four to 84.

"What she endured was unthinkable," Biden said, adding he did not know the child's condition, but could confirm she was safely in Israel.

The US President did not have updates on other American hostages but said it was his goal to extend the ceasefire deal for as long as possible.

His comments came as Hamas for the first time said it would seek to extend the deal by looking to release a larger number of hostages.

The Israeli army's chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said it was open to extending the ceasefire if more hostages are released. Israel earlier said the truce can be extended by an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed, but has vowed to quickly resume its offensive once it ends.

"We can get all hostages back home. We have to keep pushing," said two of Edan's relatives, a great aunt and cousin, in a statement thanking mediators.

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