An American mother and daughter Hamas took as hostages in early October have been released “for humanitarian reasons,” according to a statement by the terrorist group on Friday.
The hostages, identified as Judith Raanan and her 18-year-old daughter Natalie, were released in response to Qatari mediation efforts, Hamas said.
The group also stated that the release was intended to refute the claims made by President Joe Biden and his administration. The hostages are believed to be in the custody of the International Red Cross and have reportedly arrived in Egypt.
The mother and daughter from Evanston, Illinois, were taken hostage when Hamas attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz 13 days ago. Their release is seen as a positive development, with hopes that more hostages will be freed soon. The families of the hostages have welcomed the release, calling for the immediate release of all hostages and missing individuals held in Gaza. The Israeli government has maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip until all hostages are freed.
The Hamas attack on October 7, which resulted in the abduction of over 200 people, including children and elderly, marked the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war. Israeli officials have vowed to eliminate Hamas while working to rescue the hostages. The IDF has confirmed that more than 20 of the hostages are under the age of 18, with others over the age of 60. The majority of the hostages are believed to be still alive.
The release of the American hostages by Hamas is a significant development in the ongoing hostage crisis in Gaza. While it offers hope for the safe return of other hostages, the situation remains complex and uncertain. The international community continues to call for the immediate release of all individuals held by Hamas.