(UnitedVoice.com) – A ceasefire between Hamas and Israel began on November 24. It was supposed to last just four days, but the parties agreed to an extension. Dozens of hostages on both sides of the conflict were released, including an American toddler.
On November 26, President Joe Biden announced Hamas released 4-year-old Avigail Idan. The young child turned 4 years old on the same day the ceasefire started. She was kidnapped by terrorists on October 7 after gunmen killed both of her parents. The president said he and First Lady Jill Biden, along with the rest of America, “are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright.” The young girl is currently in Israel.
A day after Hamas released the child and 16 other hostages, the ceasefire was going to expire. However, both parties agreed to extend it two more days to allow time for the release of more hostages and additional aid to make it into Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is home to more than 2 million Palestinians. They have been under a blockade since 2007 after Hamas won elections that many experts believe were corrupt. The blockade has caused extreme poverty in the region. It has gotten worse after Hamas attacked Israel, killing more than 1,400 and taking hundreds of others hostages. The region has been completely closed off while Israel drops bombs on it to eradicate the militant group.
Meanwhile, back in Israel, families (including Americans and other foreign nationals) have waited for weeks to receive word about their loved ones who were taken. As of Tuesday, November 28, Hamas had released 69 hostages. Fewer than 10 Americans remained in custody. Israel has said it would extend the ceasefire for one day for every 10 hostages released.
Israel has also released prisoners. Most of them have been kids who allegedly threw firebombs and stones at Israeli troops. American officials will travel to the Middle East in the coming days.
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