According to Sen. Marsha Blackburn, the Biden administration needs to officially declare the roughly 500 Americans and their family members now stranded in Gaza as hostages.
Blackburn says Hamas is now holding around 500 Americans as hostages. The Biden administration should make a public declaration that these persons are hostages and explain their attempts to achieve their release to the American people without appeasing Hamas. She said we must not stand by and watch as the U.S. administration caves to terrorists’ demands.
Blackburn demanded the resignation of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday as well.
Multiple sources claim that American citizens are being prevented from leaving Gaza by Hamas officials. The exact number of detained Americans is unknown.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that there are about 400 American citizens and their family members stranded in Gaza and that another 1,000 persons are trying to exit the territory. However, some sources put the number higher, at 500.
Several authorities on international relations have backed Blackburn’s assessment.
According to Robert O’Brien, a former national security advisor and special envoy for hostage problems for the United States, this crisis is quickly developing into a hostage situation.
Ric Grenell, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, also said he agrees with the senator.
The State Department’s spokesperson, Matthew Miller, acknowledged that a few Americans left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.
He said that most American citizens in Gaza are still in regular contact with the State Department. They can’t name everyone who has contacted them, but rest assured that they respond to every one of them, often daily.
However, he recognized that Hamas was obstructing their departure and making various demands.
He said they’re working on a plan to get all American citizens out of Gaza safely and that the president considers this a top priority.