Israel and Hamas entered into its fourth day of cease-fire on Monday as the terror group continues to release more hostages.
According to CBN News, at least 40 hostages have been released so far, with a total of 50 expected to be reached on Monday. Following Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, over 200 people were kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office announced in a statement that negotiations with Hamas "on the list of those slated to be released under the framework of the hostages release outline are continuing."
"We are aware of the tension in the families and will release additional information when possible," the office said, ABC News reports. "We request to refrain from disseminating rumors and unreliable information."
On Sunday, fourteen Israelis were released, including four-year-old Avigail Edan, an Israeli-American whose parents were killed by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack.
"I just spoke with President (Joe) Biden with great excitement, of course, about the little girl, Abigail. What a joy to see her with us. But, on the other hand, what a pity that she returns to the reality of not having parents. She has no parents – but she has a whole nation that embraces her, and we will take care of all her needs,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Through intensive U.S. diplomacy, she's now safely in Israel, and we continue to press and expect additional Americans will be released as well,” Biden said. “And we will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, 84-year-old Alma Avraham, who was also among the hostages freed by Hamas, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
In an interview on “Good Morning America,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby noted that an estimated seven to 10 American civilians remain hostage in the Gaza Strip.
"We know that there are other Americans being held hostage. We're certainly going to do everything we can hour by hour to get them released," Kirby told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Monday morning.
"We know that there were ten unaccounted-for, missing Americans," he added. "We think that the large majority of them are in this hostage population. But we don't have great fidelity past that."
Kirby also pointed out that it’s "difficult to know" the exact amount of hostages in Gaza and which groups are holding them.
"We have to assume there are a couple hundred or so," he said. "We also have to assume, George, that Hamas isn't holding all of them -- that the other groups, potentially the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for instance, another radical extremist terrorist group there operating out of Gaza, could be holding some. But it's going to be up to Hamas now to track all them down and see if we can arrange for their exchange."
According to Israeli authorities, a fourth and final prisoner swap is scheduled to take place Monday between 4 and 6 p.m. local time before the cease-fire expires Tuesday morning.
"We're into day four now, and so our hope and expectation is yet another instalment of hostages will get released sometime later today," Kirby told ABC News. "There have been delays in the past couple of days. We'll see if we have to work through any delays today."
"We would very much like to see this pause continue and more hostages exchanged as a result," he added. "Israel has said they're willing to do that. It's really going to be up to Hamas now to determine whether they're willing to come up with more hostages in coming days." Click here for current hostage updates.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.