A Republican Rep. has accused the Biden administration of taking political credit for hostage releases in Israel even though it has no information on American captives and does not even know if they are alive. Speaking on NBC’s Meet The Press, Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio said he is concerned that the release of Americans was not made a condition of continued US aid to Gaza, and the government has no idea what is happening to Americans there.
“We’re not even sure that Hamas has all of the hostages. We’re not sure which ones are alive, where their bodies may be,” he said.
Hamas released the last group of hostages to the Red Cross on November 29, including 10 Israelis, four citizens of Thailand, one German, and one person with dual US-German nationality. In exchange, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement also handed over hostages and, in doing so, confirmed that not all of the hundreds taken captive in October are held by Hamas.
Meanwhile, family members of the kidnapped civilians say they have evidence that their relative’s health is deteriorating. In a letter to Israel’s war cabinet, a group of relatives said their loved ones are “now in immediate danger,” and claimed that around a third of the 138 remaining captives suffer from illnesses that require imminent medical attention. Some also have injuries sustained during the terror attack on October 7, while others were tortured and abused during their captivity, the letter asserts.
“Based on this data, we demand that you act urgently, with initiative and creativity, to obtain a deal for the immediate release of all the abductees,” it continued.
The evidence cited is likely derived from the testimony of released hostages, some of whom met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an encounter that was described as tense and disorganized. Observers said some accused the Prime Minister of prioritizing politics over the hostages’ well-being.