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Hamas releases two U.S. hostages

Relatives of people kidnapped by Hamas militants pray in central Tel Aviv. Associated Press/Photo by Petros Giannakouris

Hamas releases two U.S. hostages

The Palestinian terror group has freed two U.S. citizens it took hostage earlier this month. Israeli officials on Friday identified the hostages, both women, as 59-year-old Judith Raanan and her daughter, 17-year-old Natalie Raanan. Family members said both women are from Illinois and were visiting relatives in Israel on Oct. 7 when they were among about 200 hostages taken by Hamas during an attack that killed more than 1,400 people. The International Committee of the Red Cross facilitated the Raanans’ release after Qatar brokered a deal with Hamas. Members of the Israeli military met with the women at the border of the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hamas said in a statement that they were released on “humanitarian grounds.” As of Friday evening, their conditions were not known.

How did the United States react? In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was overjoyed at the news and thanked the governments of Qatar and Israel for their assistance. He vowed that the United States would not stop until all American hostages were brought home.

Dig deeper: Read Craig A. Carter’s column in WORLD Opinions on Marxist support for Hamas.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

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