National Security

Hamas Releases Two American Hostages

(Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Hamas released two American hostages on Friday after detaining the U.S. citizens since it carried out terrorist attacks against Israel on Oct. 7, the State Department said.

Hamas said it released a mother and her daughter, both American citizens, for humanitarian reasons and to spite the Biden administration’s claims about Hamas’ atrocities, Hamas said in an English-language statement on Friday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later confirmed that two American hostages were transferred out of Hamas custody around 3 p.m. EST.

“These two Americans are now safely in the hands of Israeli authorities in Israel. A team from the U.S. embassy will meet with them shortly,” Blinken said in the statement.

“But there are still 10 additional Americans who remain unaccounted for in this conflict. We know that some of them are being held hostage by Hamas, along with an estimated 200 other hostages held in Gaza,” Blinken said. “Every single one of them should be released.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said Hamas handed over Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter, Natalie Shoshana Raanan, to Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch, the Israeli official who coordinates hostage release efforts, at the Israeli border with Gaza late Friday, The Washington Post reported.

“At this moment they are on their way to a meeting point at a military base in the center of the country, where their family members are waiting for them,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement, according to the Post. (RELATED: ‘The US Conducts Prisoner Swaps’: Hamas Official Cites Biden’s Iran Deal As Rationale For Taking Hostages)

“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 said in the statement earlier on Friday.

Fox News also said it independently confirmed their release. The Gaza-based terrorist organization took up to 200 Israelis and foreign nationals hostage during their Oct. 7 surprise attack, where armed militants also murdered 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians, and paraded their bodies around the streets.

NBC News Correspondent Martin Fletcher said that the two women released are his family members Judith and Natalie Raanan from Evanston, Illinois, NBC News reported. Two officials briefed on the matter reportedly confirmed Fletcher’s account.

Fletcher revealed on air Thursday night that the two were in Israel for Natalie Raanan’s 17th birthday when Hamas terrorists abducted them. Hamas had previously threatened to kill the hostages if Israel did not stop pummeling the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in an attempt to destroy Hamas.

“As I told the families of Americans being held captive by Hamas, we’re 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,” President Joe Biden said in a rare Oval Office address Thursday night.

He said Hamas had “unleashed pure unadulterated evil in the world” and accused the terrorist organization of seeking to wipe out a neighboring democracy.

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