Washington, Nov 26 (IANS): A section of the American people led by GOP legislators gave vent to their anger and frustration as US hostages were not released by Hamas in the 1st lot and some of them questioned the "so-called" visibility of the ceasefire agreement claimed to have been achieved by the White House and Arab nations.
President Joe Biden has come under fire on social media after no Americans were included in the first lot of hostages released by Hamas on Friday, media reports claimed.
On Friday, Hamas freed 13 Israelis as part of a deal that should have seen 50 hostages released during a four day ceasefire, in return for 150 Palestinian women and children being held in Israeli jails and greater flow of humanitarian aid. The first lot of 39 Palestinians were freed in return whilst Hamas also released 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino who had been working in Israel, reports said .
However, none of those released on Friday were Americans, angering some conservative legislators who criticised Biden who had first enthusiastically supported the truce agreement claiming it would "bring home additional American hostages, Newsweek reported.
Reacting to the lack of freed Americans, conservative commentator Carmine Sabia wrote on X: "President Joe Biden is said to have brokered the deal for the hostages with Israel and Hamas and somehow no Americans were included. This man is senile."
Graham Allen, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, with 390,000 X followers, posted: "How do I know Joe Biden is weak? NO AMERICANS were released today. If it were Trump, they would've had thanksgiving with their families."
Podcaster Alec Lace commented: "Apparently no Americans are being released in the hostage deal between Hamas and Israel which Biden claimed to have brokered ! NEVER FORGET: Biden traded away the Merchant of Death for an anti-American basketball player." He was referring to the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian captivity in December 2022 in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, held in American custody.
Meanwhile, Phil Holloway, a columnist for the conservative commentary website Townhall, shared a news article about the hostages being released and wrote on X: "Biden is going to try to take credit isn't he....Israel did all the heavy lifting, not Biden. Also, why were no Americans released? Until Americans are released, Biden needs to keep quiet."
Speaking to NBC News earlier on Friday, a senior White House official said they weren't expecting any American hostages to be released in the first batch, but expressed hope some could be in the coming days."We do not expect Americans to be among the first group released today but remain hopeful that there will be Americans among the 50 released," the official had said.
After the hostages were released, Biden commented: "We expect more hostages to be released tomorrow. And more the day after, and even more the day after that. Over the next few days, we expect that dozens of hostages will be returned to their families."
The President added that the agreement had been "reached by extensive US diplomacy", and said he "will not stop" until all the hostages held in Gaza by Hamas are returned home. Whilst the precise numbers haven't been officially confirmed, an investigation by The Daily Beast earlier this month concluded that at least 10 Americans had been kidnapped by Hamas. This doesn't include Judith and Natalie Raanan, two Americans who were released by Hamas on October 20.