Home / News / Israel / Hamas releases American mother, daughter
mother hostages
American hostages, Judith and Natalie Raanan, now free. Photo: IDF.

Hamas releases American mother, daughter

Hamas on Friday evening released two American hostages. Mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan were freed at the Gaza border for “humanitarian reasons”, Hamas said.

They were among as many as Americans, all part of a larger group of 200, being held captive. Hamas says other armed Gaza groups hold 50 additional hostages. At least 32 Americans are known to have been murdered by Hamas.

The women are the first to be released since Hamas terrorists and Palestinians raided Israel on Oct. 7.  The current death toll stands at 1,400 people. Israel said this week that they believe several terrorists remain in hiding southern Israel. Authorities continue to identify bodies–some so badly mutilated or burned that notification of families has been impossible.

Released at Gaza border

Brig Gen Gal Hirsch, together with members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), received the two hostages from Hamas at the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza region on Friday evening, said the Israeli prime minister’s office.

The Raanans were taken to a military base in the centre of the country, where family members were waiting, said the PM’s office.

The mother and daughter were staying at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel when they were abducted during the Hamas attack.

Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie 49-year-old Illinois mother and her 17-year-old daughter, who recently graduated from high school, are both residents of Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Natalie’s half-brother, Ben Raanan, told the BBC he felt an “overwhelming sense of gratitude to the large community of people around the world who have put my sister at the forefront of their thoughts, of their prayers, of all religions and all beliefs”.

Natalie’s uncle, Avi Zamir, said the family were “extremely joyful”.

The Raanans were taken hostage while celebrating Natalie’s graduation and the 85th birthday of her grandmother, Tamar Ranaan, who survived the Hamas attack.

Tamar Ranaan survived by hiding in the safe room of their home.

In a written statement on Friday, President Joe Biden said he was “overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their family”.

He also thanked the Qatari government for its mediation efforts in the release.

A Hamas spokesman, Abu Ubaida, said the mother and daughter had been released “for humanitarian reasons, and to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”

CNN reported that the mother had been suffering poor health and was receiving treatment from the Red Cross.

As of Friday, at least 32 American citizens had been confirmed dead this month in the Israel-Hamas conflict, while 10 remained unaccounted for, according to the US state department.

Wire services


Leave a Reply