The United States welcomed the release of two American hostages held by Hamas on Friday, October 20, and called on the Palestinian Islamist group to release the other nationals it is detaining. “Our compatriots have experienced a terrible ordeal over the past fourteen days. and I am overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their families,” Joe Biden said in a statement.
He spoke on Friday with the two women, who were taken hostage on October 7 by Hamas during its bloody assault on Israel. During their conversation, according to the White House, he promised them “all assistance from the US government.”
Joe Biden also thanked Qatar and Israel for their “partnership” in the operation which led to their release. He promised that the United States “wouldn’t stop until we brought it home” their other nationals still hostages, of which Washington has not given the exact number.
First release of hostages confirmed by both parties
These hostages “must be released immediately and unconditionally”, declared the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken during a press conference. “There are another 10 Americans whose fate in this conflict is unknown. We know that some of them are being held by Hamas“, he said again.
Hamas announced this release and the Israeli government then indicated that these two Americans were “heading towards a meeting point, in a military base in the center of the country, where their family members are waiting for them“. The two women were kidnapped on October 7 while they were visiting the kibbutz (collectivist agricultural village) Nahal Oz.
It is the first release of hostages confirmed by both parties. Some 200 Israeli, foreign and binational hostages were kidnapped in Israel and taken to Gaza by Hamas fighters during the unprecedented attack on October 7, which sparked a war, with Israel shelling from the Gaza Strip to “annihilate” the Islamist movement.