Miami, USA, Nov 26 (EFE). – US President Joe Biden on Sunday celebrated the release of another 17 hostages held by the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and said he was committed to the “two-state solution” as the “only way to guarantee long-term security” for Israelis and Palestinians.
Speaking at a news conference in Massachusetts, Biden expressed hope that the release of hostages would continue with the intervention of other countries in the region.
“We’re looking for a way to end this so that all the hostages are released,” he said.
The US president also had emotional words for Abigail, the four-year-old American girl released Sunday, who he said had suffered a “terrible trauma” but was now “free and in Israel.”
“What she endured is unthinkable,” the president said of the girl whose father was murdered in front of her.
On Sunday, Israel received 17 hostages released by the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who were received by the Red Cross, according to official Israeli and Palestinian sources.
Among those freed are 14 Israelis and 3 Thais. One of the Israelis is a Russian citizen, who was released as a gesture by Hamas to the Russian government.
Israel said it will release 39 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as part of the hostage-for-prisoner exchange deal, which calls for the release of a total of 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.
However, it could be extended if Hamas commits to releasing at least ten prisoners per day.
Biden stressed that he will continue to work closely with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the President of Egypt, Abdefaltah al Sisi, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to do “everything possible to see hostages are freed.”
“will not give up working toward that goal,” the US president said, after specifying that he will continue to seek with “all our partners” the “hard but necessary steps to build an integrated and more prosperous and peaceful future in the region.”
The Israeli government on Sunday released the names of the 14 Israeli hostages – four women, nine minors and a man with dual Russian citizenship – that the Islamist group Hamas freed on Sunday along with three Thais, bringing the total number of hostages freed since Friday to 58.
The president was asked if he could use this as an opportunity to extend the pause in fighting, of which he said “All the players in the region even the neighbors who aren’t have been directly involved, for now we’re looking for a way to end this…and Hamas is… no longer in control of any portion of Gaza.”
Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7 after the Islamist group launched more than 4,000 rockets and infiltrated some 3,000 militants who killed some 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 240 in Israeli communities near Gaza.
Israel’s air, naval and ground forces have since counterattacked the Palestinian enclave, where more than 14,800 people have been killed, most of them children and women, and more than 7,000 are estimated to be missing under the rubble, so the death toll could be even higher. EFE