ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Biden: We’re determined to secure release of every person taken hostage by Hamas

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden welcomes the release of an American-Israeli hostage from Hamas captivity tonight and says Washington will keep working to help secure the release of all hostages taken by Hamas.

Sixteen Israeli and Thai hostages were freed earlier tonight, among them Liat Beinin — a high school teacher, a guide at Israel’s Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem and an American.

“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 says.

The US president notes that the tonight’s releases were the result of a truce between Israel and Hamas that the US worked tirelessly to secure in order free now nearly 100 hostages and to deliver significant amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The truce is in its sixth day, following a two-day extension of what was initially a four-day truce. The US says it hopes the temporary ceasefire will be further extended and talks toward that end are ongoing.

Biden again thanks the leaders of Israel, Qatar and Egypt for their help in securing the truce.

The statement details at length US efforts to surge humanitarian aid into Gaza as the Biden administration continues to come under fire from the far-left flank of the Democratic party over its support for Israel right to self-defense following Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

Four-year-old Abigail Edan, an Israeli-American dual citizen, was the first US hostage to be released under the ceasefire. Both of her parents were killed in the Hamas attack that started the war on Oct. 7.

White House officials believe seven or eight Americans remain in captivity.

AP contributed to this report.

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