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Miraculous Freedom: Abigail Mor Edan, the 4-Year-Old American Hostage Held by Hamas, Now Safe! Discover the Key Details. 2024-04-17 05:17:28

In a heartening turn of events, Abigail Mor Edan, the youngest U.S. citizen held captive by Hamas, has been successfully released and returned to Israel, as confirmed by both President Biden and the Israeli military. Tragically orphaned during Hamas' attacks on Israel on October 7, Abigail celebrated her fourth birthday last week while enduring captivity in Gaza.

Reports indicated that Abigail was among approximately 240 individuals kidnapped during the deadly rampage. Her name had surfaced on a list of hostages slated for release by Hamas, a commitment reiterated by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in a conversation with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan. However, the delicate nature of the situation had cast uncertainty on the actual release.

Sunday's release marked the third wave, following earlier releases contingent on a negotiated deal with Israel. The terms involved the release of at least 50 women and children held captive in Gaza, along with around 150 Palestinian women and teenagers imprisoned in Israel. A temporary cease-fire agreement was part of the deal, facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and allowing displaced Palestinians in the devastated northern part of the territory to return to their homes at their discretion. The agreed-upon pause in fighting was set for four days, with Israel expressing willingness to extend the cease-fire for one day for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas.

On Sunday, Hamas fulfilled its commitment by releasing 17 hostages, including Abigail. Fourteen of them are Israeli citizens, while three hold foreign nationality, though the specific countries were not immediately disclosed. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed confidence that at least one American would be released on the same day during a separate "Face the Nation" interview.

President Biden, addressing the nation in televised remarks on Sunday, directly acknowledged the release of Abigail Mor Edan, offering a glimpse of hope amid the challenges faced by those affected by the conflict.

President Biden announced with profound relief that Abigail is now safe in Israel, liberated from the harrowing ordeal she endured at the hands of Hamas militants. The four-year-old girl experienced unimaginable trauma, witnessing the tragic loss of her mother in front of her, followed by the heartbreaking sacrifice of her father, who shielded her from the attack and was fatally gunned down.

Abigail's journey to safety included a courageous dash to neighbors for assistance, as revealed by President Biden. He described her ordeal as "unthinkable," acknowledging the resilience and strength displayed by the young survivor. In a statement on Sunday, Abigail's great-aunt, Liz Hirsh Naftali, and cousin, Noa Naftali, expressed their overwhelming relief and gratitude for Abigail's safe return. They extended thanks to President Biden and the Qatari government, emphasizing that the release serves as proof that all hostages can be brought home, urging continued efforts.

Liz Hirsh Naftali and Noa Naftali disclosed that Abigail had been taken captive alongside neighbors from the Kfar Aza kibbutz, her family's residence. Her siblings, aged 6 and 10, managed to survive the attack by hiding in a closet for 14 hours. Initially fearing Abigail's demise, the family later discovered she had survived, shielded by her father's selfless act. Abigail sought refuge with neighbors, who were also subsequently taken hostage—a mother, a 10-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 4-year-old preschool companion.

The family faced an agonizing wait for information, learning days later that witnesses had observed the neighbor and her three children, along with Abigail, being led out of the kibbutz during the Hamas attack. Noa Naftali shared on "CBS Mornings" that if released, Abigail would reside with her aunt, uncle, and grandparents, who were already caring for her siblings. The family pledged to provide the love and support needed for these children grappling with the profound loss of their parents.

Liz Hirsh Naftali, reflecting on the resilience of Abigail, emphasized the significant role the four-year-old played in the family dynamic. "She ran that house," Naftali stated, underscoring Abigail's impact on the household. The family recognizes that Abigail's return is not only crucial for her own well-being but also serves as the linchpin of hope for her siblings, a sister, and a brother. The haunting events of October 7, witnessed by the 6 and 10-year-old siblings, have left an indelible mark on their young minds, and their understanding of the tragedy is palpable.

In the face of such a traumatic experience, the family finds solace in the prospect of Abigail's return, hoping it will offer a semblance of closure and a pathway to healing. Naftali shared the sentiment that, despite the children's firsthand witness to the unimaginable events, the return of Abigail becomes a beacon of hope—a pivotal step toward coming to terms with the past and moving forward.

As the family contends with the aftermath of October 7, the return of Abigail is seen not only as a reunion but as a vital catalyst for the healing journey that lies ahead for the entire family. Emily Mae Czachor, a reporter and news editor at CBSNews.com, brings attention to this poignant story, shedding light on the resilience and strength exhibited by Abigail and her siblings in the face of adversity.

In the face of unimaginable tragedy, the resilience of Abigail Mor Edan and her siblings stands as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Liz Hirsh Naftali's poignant words, highlighting Abigail's influential role in their household, paint a picture of a brave young soul who, despite the harrowing events of October 7, became a beacon of hope for her family. The profound understanding exhibited by Abigail's 6 and 10-year-old siblings adds a somber layer to the narrative, emphasizing the weight of the witnessed trauma.

As the family awaits Abigail's return, there is a collective yearning for closure and a path forward. The hope pinned on her homecoming transcends mere reunion; it represents a crucial step toward healing and rebuilding shattered lives. In the midst of this heart-wrenching journey, the support and gratitude expressed towards President Biden, the Qatari government, and the unwavering commitment to bringing all hostages home echo a resilient optimism.

Emily Mae Czachor's reporting captures the emotional depth of this story, shedding light on the complexities of loss, survival, and the indomitable human spirit. As Abigail prepares to reunite with her family, her return symbolizes not only a personal triumph but a shared journey of recovery for those touched by the events of that fateful day. The narrative unfolds as a powerful testament to the enduring strength of family bonds and the capacity for hope in the face of adversity.

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