Two US hostages released by Hamas amid conflict, IDF confirms
Tel Aviv [Israel]: Following the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have confirmed the release of two US citizens who were being held hostage by Hamas, and that the duo is now in Israeli troops' hands, as reported by The Times of Israel.
However, the IDF strongly criticized the Hamas terror group for continuing to hold approximately 200 other hostages.
"Hamas presents itself to the world at this hour as one who releases hostages for humanitarian reasons, but in reality, we are talking about a murderous terror group, which at this hour is holding babies, children, women, and the elderly captive," IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.
The two Americans who were released have been identified as Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natali Raanan, both from Chicago, according to CNN.
According to their family, they had been visiting relatives in Nahal Oz, a farming community in southern Israel, and they were released on "humanitarian grounds" due to the mother's poor health.
Furthermore, the release took place as part of negotiations involving Qatar and Hamas, as reported by CNN.
During a press briefing on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed gratitude to the Qatar government for their assistance.
"I wanna thank the government of Qatar for their very important assistance. When I was in Israel last week, I met with the families of US citizens that Hamas has taken hostage," Blinken said.
He also mentioned that US President Joe Biden had the opportunity to meet the family, stating, "...The entire United States government will work every minute of every day to secure their release to bring their loved ones home. They have my solemn pledge, those who continue to have loved ones held hostage by Hamas, that will continue to do that."
The White House also issued a statement on Friday, confirming the release of the Americans who were taken hostage by Hamas during the horrific terrorist assault against Israel on October 7.