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Israel-Gaza War: Four-year-old girl IAvigail Idan among released hostages

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IAvigail Idan

7 months ago
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A four-year-old Israeli-American girl who was kidnapped by Hamas during its 7 October attack in southern Israel was among the 17 hostages released by the group on Sunday.

Avigail Idan was just three at the time she was taken hostage from her home, where her parents were attacked and killed by Hamas gunmen.

She turned four while she was held hostage by Hamas.

Avigail's family said: "We hoped and prayed today would come."

"There are no words to express our relief and gratitude that Avigail is safe and coming home," said Liz Hirsh Naftali, Avigail's great aunt, and Noa Naftali, her cousin, in a statement.

They also thanked US president Joe Biden, the Qatari government and others who were involved in securing Avigail's release and called for the remaining hostages to be released.

Ella Mor says her released four-year-old niece Avigail "has family and we're taking care of her"
"We have to keep pushing. We will continue to stand with the families of all the hostages still held captive, and we remain committed as ever to securing their safe and swift return."

Earlier, President Biden said Avigail had been through a "terrible trauma", adding what she "endured is unthinkable".

Speaking to reporters, he said those around Avigail will be surrounding her with "love and care."

"Today she's free, and Jilly [first lady of the US Jill Biden] and I, together with so many Americans, are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright," he said.

President Biden said Sunday's hostage releases were the result of "intensive US diplomacy", adding he was hopeful that more American hostages will be released in the coming days.

"We continue to press and expect that additional Americans will be released as well," he said, adding "we will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones".

Fourteen of the 17 hostages were Israeli and three of them were Thai nationals. Nine of the Israelis were children.

Avigail was with her family in the Kfar Aza kibbutz on 7 October. Her parents were killed during the attack, while her two siblings hid and were later rescued. Her mother's cousin told Sky News that Avigail's father had been holding her when he was shot.

She survived and walked to the home of her neighbours, the Brodutch family, but was later abducted along with the family by Hamas.

source: BBC