Hamas militants have released two American hostages, a mother and daughter, citing “humanitarian reasons” on Friday. The hostages were kidnapped from Israel during the October 7 attack, and the mother’s health is reportedly in poor condition. The release comes amid heightened tensions in the region, with Hamas providing a statement to the Times of Israel regarding the reasons behind the decision.
Details of the Hostage Release: Israeli officials reported that a total of 199 hostages were taken into Gaza by Hamas during the October 7 attack. The release of the two American hostages is said to be a result of Qatari efforts, according to a Hamas spokesperson. The statement aimed to counter what they referred to as “false and baseless” claims made by the Biden administration.
Hamas’ Response to Biden Administration: The Hamas spokesperson criticized the Biden administration as “fascist” and accused them of making unfounded claims. The release of the American hostages was framed as a response to prove the inaccuracy of the statements made by President Biden and his administration regarding the ongoing conflict.
CNN reported that, according to a source familiar with the release, the hostages were in the company of members of the Red Cross and were “on their way out” of Gaza. However, it remains unclear whether they will exit Gaza into Israel or Egypt.
Unconfirmed Identities of Hostages: While the identities of the released hostages have not been officially confirmed, there are indications that the American mother-daughter duo, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie, might be among those kidnapped from Kibbutz Nahal Oz over two weeks ago. The pair, reportedly from Chicago, had traveled to Israel for a special trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday and observe Jewish holidays when the attack occurred.