White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated there is “reason to believe” an American hostage could be released from Hamas within the third group during a CNN interview Sunday.
Sullivan appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” discussing the third group of hostages set to be released Sunday. CNN host Dana Bash asked the national security advisor if he could confirm that an American would be among the hostages released. (RELATED: Hamas Releases Second Group Of Hostages)
While Sullivan did not give a final confirmation, he did state the US has “reason to believe” an American hostage will be released, noting how American hostages were part of the “initial four-day deal.”
“Well just taking a step back Dana, the 50 hostages that were part of this initial four-day deal, those were women and children. And there are three Americans who fall into that category, two women and one child,” Sullivan stated.
“Now we know those three were missing. We cannot say for certain whether all three of them are still alive. But we do know this — we have reason to believe that today, one American will be released.”
A four-day ceasefire was agreed upon between Hamas and Israel beginning Friday after Hamas released 24 hostages. The terms negotiated between the two powers were reportedly for Hamas to release 50 hostages who were kidnapped from Israel in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in exchange for Israel to release 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.(RELATED: No Americans Were Among The 24 Hamas Hostages Released Friday)
Sullivan continued to note that he remained “cautious” on “making any firm statements” due to the fact that they are dealing with Hamas and require evidence of witnessing the hostage entering safety.
“And I say ‘reason to believe’ because I want to be cautious about making any firm statements until we actually see that individual cross the border to safety and ultimately be reunited with their family. We’re dealing with Hamas. We are in a ‘don’t-trust-but-verify’ situation here,” Sullivan continued.
“And so we have reason to believe that there will be an American release today. We have been in close touch with the Israelis, with the Qataris, with the Egyptians over the last 24 hours. President Biden has been personally engaged with the Emir of Qatar on this issue. And so today should be a good day, a joyful day. But until we actually see it happen, understand we are going to remain really at the edge of our seat.”
A third group of 17 hostages was released by Hamas early Sunday. Reports from Red Cross senior officials state they currently have four-year-old Abigail Edan, making her the first American hostage released, according to CNN.