2 American hostages released by Hamas

October 20, 2023

Two American hostages, a mother and her daughter, were being released by Hamas, CNN reported Friday, citing diplomatic sources.

According to one CNN source, the pair have already been handed over to the Red Cross and were “on their way out.” They were reportedly being released on “humanitarian grounds” because the mother is in poor health.

On Friday afternoon, Martin Fletcher, a relative of the two women, Natalie and Judith Raanan from Evanston, Illinois, told NBC news that they were with the Red Cross inside Israel.

Their reported release was the result of the negotiations between Qatar and Hamas that started after Hamas abducted more than 200 people, including dozens of kids. Hamas has threatened to execute a hostage every time an Israeli airstrike hits Gazans in their homes.

“In response to Qatari efforts, Al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens (a mother and her daughter) 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,” Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said in a statement.

The Israeli military confirmed Friday that the two women had been released across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Late Friday afternoon Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “These two Americans are now safely in the hands of Israeli authorities in Israel. We expect a team from the U.S. Embassy to see them very shortly. Over the coming hours they will receive any support and assistance they need, and of course we are very anxious to be able to reunite them with their loved ones.”  

But he added that 10 more Americans who remain unaccounted for, at least some of whom authorities had confirmed were being held hostage by Hamas, along with some 200 other hostages from other countries. 

On Wednesday, President Biden noted that the international Red Cross’ has demanded that it be able to visit the hostages, which Biden called “a just demand that the United States fully supports.”

And during his Oval Office address Thursday evening, Biden said that he’d told the families of the Americans being held hostage by Hamas, “We are pursuing every avenue to bring their loved ones home. As President, there is no higher priority for me than the safety of Americans held hostage.”

PHOTO: Posters in Israel calling for return of the hostages taken by Hamas

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