White House Fears 10 Americans Held Hostage Despite $100M ‘Gift to Hamas’
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday that an estimated ten Americans are currently being held hostage by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The briefing followed after the terror group released two hostages from captivity–an American mother and daughter.
“We welcome their release. We share in the relief that their families, friends, and loved ones are feeling,” the Secretary of State told reporters. Blinken did not provide details on the conditions or status of the remaining hostages but did offer an estimate on how many Americans were still being held by Hamas.
“There are still ten additional Americans who remain unaccounted for in this conflict. Some of them are being held hostage by Hamas along with an estimated 200 other hostages held in Gaza. They include men, women and young boys, young girls and people from many nations,” Blinken said. “Every single one of them should be released.”
In a statement on the release of Judith and Natalie Raanan of Chicago, Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obaida said,
“In response to Qatari efforts, Al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens (a mother and her daughter) for humanitarian reasons, and to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”
To date, 32 Americans have been killed since the initial deadly attack against Israel on October 7.
“There are still 10 additional Americans that remain unaccounted for… we know that some of them are being held hostage by Hamas.”@SecBlinken speaks on release of 2 American hostages by Hamas & other U.S. citizens still missing. @livenowfox pic.twitter.com/LeOusjEYYN
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowTV) October 20, 2023
The Biden Administration has faced intense criticism for its approach to the hostage crisis, especially as it announces $100 million in new funding for aid to Palestine. While the White House has vowed that the assistance will be used strictly for humanitarian purposes, critics say it risks ending up in the hands of terrorists, as it has in years past.
“How are you funding them when they’re holding Americans, as well as others, hostage?” Governor Ron DeSantis asked in a video released last week.
“Joe Biden just announced $100 million of your taxpayer dollars going to the Gaza Strip. They say it’s humanitarian assistance. We know Hamas is going to commandeer that money, and Hamas is going to use it to advance terrorism. I say no U.S. tax dollars to the Gaza Strip. We still have hostages being held by Hamas. There are American hostages being held by Hamas.”
U.S. Senator and ex-Florida Governor Rick Scott also criticized the aid package, calling it “crazy” in an interview with CBS News Miami.
“Hamas controls Gaza. Every dime that we send into Gaza goes to Hamas. You saw the terrorists with humanitarian first aid kits when they were out shooting and killing Americans and Israelis in Israel. This is crazy. Hamas is holding American citizens and Israelis hostage and we’re going to give them money,” he said.
No U.S. tax dollars to the Gaza Strip.
Hamas is holding American hostages and Biden wants to fund them?
I challenge every Republican running to step up to the plate and oppose Biden’s $100 million gift to Hamas. pic.twitter.com/h0wPS6bAKs
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) October 18, 2023
On Wednesday, Biden vowed during his trip to Israel that securing American hostages would be a top priority. As the White House works to secure funding for Palestine, it is unclear what path exists to secure the release of the hostages. On Thursday, it was announced by the IDF that two Israeli-Americans, aged 80 and 12, had died after being taken captive by Hamas.
“I can’t speak publicly about all the details, but let me assure you: For me as the American president, there is no higher priority than the release and safe return of all these hostages,” Biden said while meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“To those who are living in limbo, waiting desperately to learn the fate of a loved one, especially to families of the hostages – You’re not alone. We’re working with partners throughout the region, pursuing every avenue to bring home those who are being held captive by Hamas,” Biden said.
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