4-year-old US national Abigail Edan released from Hamas captivity

51 days after being abducted from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Abigail Edan, daughter of Ynet photographer Roy Edan who was killed by Hamas terrorists along with his wife Samdar, returned to Israel

Ilana Curiel, Alexandra Lukash, Sharon Kidon, Nir (Shoko) Cohen|
The list of Israelis released from Hamas captivity as part of the third phase of the prisoner exchange includes four-year-old Abigail Edan from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Abigail's grandfather, Carmel Edan, 75, said Sunday evening: "We've been waiting all day, but until we see her, we remain skeptical."
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Abigail is the daughter of Ynet photographer Roy Edan, who was killed by Hamas terrorists along with his wife Samdar in Kfar Aza. The couple's two older children, Michael, 9, and Amalia, 6, hid in a closet in their home and survived.
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משפחת עידן
משפחת עידן
Abigail Edan
"This framework, where people sit in front of the screen to see if their loved ones appear on the list, was like Russian roulette," said Grandfather Carmel. "Until now it was bad, the good part is seeing her. The waiting and anticipation, and then nothing, was worse than anything. My wife hasn't been functioning for two days."
He added: "When I go to Amalia and Michael, I dedicate time to them, try to bring a smile to their faces, but I can't. I see deep sadness in their eyes. Today's news is good but tinged with sadness. Our sadness is chronic, it will never heal. The children will grow up happy and prosperous, they will have everything, we will spare nothing. We just want them to heal mentally, and that will do us good. Our eyes are now on the grandchildren."
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משפחת עידן
משפחת עידן
The Edans: Abigail, Father Roy, Michael, Amalia and Mother Smadar
Amit, Abigail's uncle and Roy's brother, said: "I didn't think about what to say to her. Nothing. I didn't want to plan anything. We will soon know what the next few hours will look like. We are on the edge of our seats. Just waiting to see her. We don't know what will happen and when Michael and Amalia will see her. They were very happy when they heard she would be coming home. As soon as she crosses the border, we will be in a different place."
In his daily briefing, IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said "Abigail - orphaned by both parents, who were killed by the cruel terrorist organization Hamas - is a hero, and her story is proof that the war against Hamas is a justified war like no other."
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan earlier Sunday said that the U.S. "hopes" Abigail will be released Sunday from Hamas captivity after 51 days. "We think enough time has passed," Sullivan told NBC. "We have a sense of who will be released, but I'm just not in a position to confirm that, as we want to make sure the release goes through."
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן חרבות ברזל החזרת חטופים מדבר על אביגיל עידן
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן חרבות ברזל החזרת חטופים מדבר על אביגיל עידן
U.S. President Joe Biden
(Photo: Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)
U.S. President Joe Biden has referred several times since the beginning of the war to Abigail, who holds American citizenship. Over the weekend, he expressed hope that dozens of captives would return to Israel in the coming days and emphasized that he has not forgotten those who remain in captivity. "We continue our efforts, and won't stop until we bring them back," Biden said, specifically mentioning young Abigail.
He mentioned her again in a White House press conference after news of her release arrived, adding that he hoped that the rest of the U.S. citizens held in captivity in Gaza would be released soon.
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