It was only on Sunday that the Bident administration belatedly revealed that an American toddler is among the some 240 Israeli and foreign hostages being held by Hamas. Though an exact figure is hard to come by, there may be a dozen or more dual US citizens among the captives. Last month, two were among the first to be released. Days ago, White House spokesman Jake Sullivan put the number at nine Americans missing.
But hopes are dwindling concerning the fate of the rest, given how violent the fighting in Gaza City has been. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced Tuesday a new death of one of its soldiers in captivity: 19-year old Cpl. Noa Marciano. She had been kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct.7 terror raids, but then—
On Monday evening, Hamas published a propaganda video of Marciano, showing her speaking to the camera four days after being taken hostage, identifying herself and reciting the names of her parents and her hometown. The video then cut to showing her dead body.
Hamas sources have suggested she died as the result of an airstrike, while Israeli sources say that terrorists beat her to death, or executed her. The IDF has now confirmed her death in captivity.
This has sparked new fears over the worst case scenario for remaining hostages. On Tuesday reporters asked President Joe Biden about what’s being done to free the rest, and particularly the Americans. He told reporters that his message to the hostages and their families is “Hang in there, we’re coming.”
“I’ve been talking to the people involved every single day. I believe it’s going to happen, but I don’t want to get into any detail,” Biden said. These talks have centered on Qatar’s ability to mediate, given it communicates with Hamas leadership.
Sullivan over the weekend had told ABC News, “There are ongoing negotiations involving the Israelis, the Qataris, and we, the United States, are actively engaged in this as well because we want to make sure that we bring home those Americans who have been taken hostage as well as all of the other hostages.”
In addition to the negotiations track, it’s possible the White House could be preparing a military rescue “option”, but such an operation would of course be extremely risky and filled with uncertainty amid the evolving urban battlefield.
The Biden administration has accidentally revealed the identities of several Delta Force commandos helping Israel in the hostage rescue – Sky News
A photo of Biden shaking hands with one of the soldiers, in the presence of other soldiers, was posted on the official White House… pic.twitter.com/jWPMOSYaAz
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 20, 2023
It was previously confirmed that the Pentagon currently has elite special forces operators advising the Israelis. There are also rumors these US forces could be on the Gaza battlefield in limited numbers.