On Friday, Gaza’s Hamas authorities freed two Americans among the 200 captives they kidnapped in the October 7 bombings in Israel and warned that more may come.
According to the Israeli authorities, Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan returned to Israel late Friday.
There was no word on their condition, but US President Joe Biden was “overjoyed” by the news.
Hamas stated it was negotiating with Qatar and Egypt to liberate its “civilian” hostages, implying that more might be released.
An Israeli ambassador met the couple at the Gaza border, and the two ladies were brought to a military camp in central Israel “where their families are waiting to meet them.”
On October 7, an American woman and her daughter were apprehended at the Nahal Oz kibbutz near the Israel-Gaza border. They were on vacation in Israel at the time, according to reports.
The Ranaan family, like many of the captives, had begun a worldwide campaign to pressure Israel to release them.
Following contacts from Qatar and Egypt, Hamas stated that “(Ezzedine) al-Qassam Brigades freed two American citizens for humanitarian reasons.”
‘A glimmer of hope’
The Islamist authorities of Gaza stated that they are “working with all mediators to implement the movement’s decision to close the civilian (hostage) file if appropriate security conditions allow.” It provided no specifics on their requests.
Israel claims that 203 persons were taken by Hamas militants during the bloodiest assault in Israel’s 75-year history, including Israelis, dual nationals, and foreigners. According to the authorities, at least 1,400 individuals were murdered, the majority of them were civilians.
According to the Hamas government, Israel has retaliated with a continuous bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip, killing at least 4,137 persons, the majority of whom were civilians.
The hostages have become a huge problem in Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stating that the government will use “any means available to locate all those missing and bring home all those kidnapped.”
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, it assisted in transporting the released Americans to Israel.