(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) One of Hamas’s 13 American hostages is a 3-year-old orphan whose parents were killed during the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre, according to a recent release from the United States embassy in Qatar.
President Joe Biden and his administration are reportedly working with Qatar and its leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, to try to negotiate a hostage release “without further delay,” conservative pundit Todd Starnes reported.
Hamas earlier released two of the U.S. hostages, an elderly woman and her daughter, after the Biden administration pledged $100 million in supposedly humanitarian aid to war-torn Gaza. However, there is little indication that the aid was actually used to benefit Palestinian citizens and not horded by Hamas militants.
It is unknown whether U.S. officials have been given any direct updates on the condition of the remaining hostages, believed to be held in the network of underground tunnels that run beneath Gaza City.
In total, Hamas is believed to have taken more than 240 hostages during the brutal attack on Israel, during which it raped, tortured and murdered an estimated 1,400 Israeli citizens. At least 26 of the hostages are children or teenagers, according to information released by the Israeli state newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
היום ב"ידיעות אחרונות":
מחכים להסתער: בשטח הכינוס שעל גבול עזה ממתינים חיילי צה"ל לאות לטהר את עזה מהטרוריסטים השפלים ששולטים בה | יואב קרן pic.twitter.com/Fib8H3UczT
— ידיעות אחרונות (@YediotAhronot) October 15, 2023
In the wake of the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the kidnapping of babies and toddlers.
“Imaging a baby is held hostage. Who takes a baby hostage,” he said. “What is this, taking children hostage? Threatening to kill them? This is savagery of the highest order.”
Amid demands throughout the Arab world for a ceasefire, Netanyahu has sought to frame the ongoing war as a “battle of civilization against barbarism” while making the case that a Hamas-controld Gaza is no longer an acceptable alternative for Israel’s national security interests.
Nonetheless, he is facing growing pressure from the Biden administration to come to the negotiating table, particularly where the hostages are concerned.
Netanyahu recently told NBC’s Meet the Press that there “could be” a potential hostage deal but did not offer more information.
“I think the less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes,” he noted.
“There could be, but I think the less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes." pic.twitter.com/llQO5h1O8g
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 12, 2023
A hostage deal could only come about as “the result of pressure, military pressure,” he added. “That’s the one thing that might create a deal and if a deal is available.”
He said he would make the announcement as soon as a deal was in place.
“Well, we will talk about it when it’s there. We’ll announce it if it’s achievable,” he said.
He also suggested that Israeli officials know many details about where the hostages are being held, suggesting that officials may also be considering non-diplomatic alternatives for liberating the hostages.
“We know a great deal, but I won’t go beyond that,” Netanyahu said.