DEVELOPING STORY: The White House says President Biden deserves all the credit for brokering a hostage release deal with Hamas. However, not a single American citizen was included in the deal.
Hamas on Friday released 24 hostages who had been held captive in Gaza for weeks, and Israel freed 39 criminal Palestinians from prison in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal.
The freed hostages included 13 Israelis, 10 people from Thailand and one from the Philippines, according to Qatar. The freed Israeli hostages included eight women — six of them in their 70s and 80s — and three children.
Their release was followed in the evening by the freeing of the Palestinian prisoners — 24 women, including some convicted of attempted murder for attacks on Israeli forces, and 15 teenagers jailed for offenses like throwing stones.
As many as 240 innocent remained in the custody of Hamas.
The White House did not explain why Americans were not included in the hostage release. But it should not be much of a surprise.
“We don’t when that will occur, Biden said Friday when asked about when Americans will be released. “But we expect it to occur.”
Biden also said he did not know if the American hostages were still alive.
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