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Reunion in Israel: Abducted American Duo Released by Hamas

Saturday, October 21, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Two American hostages, a woman and her teenage daughter, who had been abducted by Hamas near Gaza, have been safely reunited with their family in Israel. Judith Tai Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie, 17, were handed over to Israeli forces at the Gaza Strip border, marking the first confirmed release of captives by Hamas since the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups.

The release was announced by Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and was later confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He stated that the mother and daughter, who are from Evanston, Illinois, were on their way to a military base in Israel to meet with their family.

The mother and daughter were abducted during an attack on southern Israel by Hamas militants on October 7 while they were visiting Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Gaza border. The two were part of a trip celebrating Jewish holidays, Natalie's high school graduation, and her grandmother's 85th birthday. Judith Raanan was described as an artist and a skilled cook who practiced her Jewish faith. Natalie Raanan was considering a career in the fashion industry, interior design, or tattoo artistry.

The release of the hostages was a result of Qatari mediation, with Hamas citing humanitarian reasons for their freedom. Hamas had previously referred to captives with foreign nationalities as "guests" who might be released under certain circumstances.

Both U.S. President Joe Biden and the international community welcomed their release and commended Qatar's efforts in securing their freedom. However, discussions for more hostage releases remain ongoing, with American and British officials working in collaboration with Qatar.

While the release is a positive development, Israel's response to the attack on southern Israel and the safety of its remaining captives in Gaza continue to be of utmost concern. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed strong action against Hamas while ensuring that no hostages are left behind.

The situation remains complex, with numerous countries, including Israel and the United States, engaged in efforts to secure the release of their citizens held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

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