Biden meets 4-year-old Abigail Edan, an American who was held hostage by Hamas

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met Wednesday with Abigail Edan, the four-year-old American girl who was held hostage in Gaza for several weeks at the start of the war.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the White House meeting with Abigail and her family was “a reminder of the work that remains to be done” to secure the release of dozens of people captured by Hamas taken during an attack on Israel on October 7. and are believed to still be in captivity in Gaza.

Abigail, who has dual Israeli-American citizenship, was taken hostage after her parents were killed in the attack and was released almost seven weeks later. She was the first American hostage released by Hamas as part of an agreement with Israel to exchange hostages for Palestinian prisoners at the start of the war. Abigail turned four during her captivity.

“It also reminded me when I visited her that there are still Americans and others being held hostage by Hamas,” said Sullivan, who attended Biden’s meeting with the girl and her family. “And we work day in, day out to ensure that they too can all return home safely to their loved ones. ”

Israel says the militants are still holding about 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Biden spoke to the girl shortly after her release in November. Thursday’s meeting was one of mixed emotions for the president.

“Abigail and her two siblings had their parents murdered on October 7, so they are still living with the tragedy and trauma of that. Abigail obviously lives with the trauma of being held captive for weeks,” Sullivan said. “But this was also a moment of joy, because she was returned safely to her family. ”

Biden’s meeting with Abigail came as Hamas on Wednesday released a recorded video of an Israeli American still being held by the group.

The video was Hersh Goldberg-Polin’s first sign of life since Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel. It is not clear when the video was taken.

Goldberg-Polin, 23, was at the Tribe of Nova music festival when Hamas launched its attack from nearby Gaza. In the video, Goldberg-Polin is missing part of his left arm.

Witnesses said he lost it when attackers threw grenades into a shelter where people had taken refuge. He tied a tourniquet around it before being bundled into the truck.

Sullivan said U.S. law enforcement officials are reviewing the video but declined further comment.