New Delhi, Oct 21: Two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan, have been safely released from captivity.
Judith Tai Raanan, a 59-year-old resident of Evanston, Illinois, and her daughter Natalie, who recently graduated from high school, had been visiting relatives in Nahal Oz, a farming community in southern Israel, when they were taken hostage on October 7.
Their release took place late Friday, with the hostages being handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which played a neutral role in transporting them from Gaza to Israel. This humanitarian release was the result of negotiations between Qatar and Hamas, with a primary focus on the mother’s poor health.
Abu Obaida, a spokesperson for the Hamas militant organization, explained that this release aimed to refute claims made by the US administration and demonstrate their commitment to humanitarian actions.
Qatar also confirmed the release and expressed its intent to continue dialogue with Israel and Hamas to secure the release of all civilian hostages of various nationalities.
US President Joe Biden expressed his joy at the imminent reunion of the Raanan family and extended his gratitude to the Qatari government for its mediation efforts. He reiterated the US government’s commitment to working tirelessly to free American citizens held by Hamas.
This development marks a significant step in the ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages, who are already been in the captivity of Hamas for the last two weeks. and it is hoped that more such releases will follow.
The abduction of the Raanans occurred during a deadly raid in which over 1,400 people, including civilians and soldiers, lost their lives.
This attack, the deadliest in Israel’s 75-year history, revealed significant intelligence failures by the country’s security forces.
In response to the attack, Israel initiated a blockade on Gaza and launched airstrikes, resulting in a humanitarian crisis and significant casualties. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have reportedly claimed the lives of more than 4,100 people, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
This release of the Raanans offers hope for the safe return of the remaining hostages and the potential reduction of tensions in the region. Gaza residents are now eagerly awaiting humanitarian aid, including drinking water, food, and medicines, expected to arrive from the Egyptian border crossing today.