Hamas frees two American hostages - 10 more remain missing - ForumDaily
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Hamas frees two American hostages; 10 more remain missing

US President Joe Biden said on October 20 that the US had secured the release of two Americans held hostage by Hamas during the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel. Writes about this The Hill.

Photo: IStock

“Our fellow citizens have endured a terrible ordeal over the past 14 days, and I am thrilled that they will soon be reunited with their families who were gripped by fear,” the president said in a statement. “These individuals and their families will have the full support of the U.S. government as they recover and recover, and we must all respect their privacy at this time.”

According to Biden, Qatar and Israel achieved the release of the Americans. Although he did not name them, the Israeli government confirmed they were Judith Raanan and her daughter, 18-year-old Natalie Raanan.

The Hamas attack leaves 10 more Americans missing and the terrorist group is believed to be holding 200 people hostage.

Biden said U.S. officials "were working around the clock to free American citizens held hostage by Hamas, and we continued efforts to free those still held hostage."

On the subject: Biden addressed the Americans about assistance to Ukraine and Israel: full text of the speech

“Jill and I hold in our hearts the memory of all the families of Americans missing in action. And as I told these families when I spoke with them last week, we will not stop until we bring their loved ones home. As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans held hostage around the world,” the president assured.

Israel previously said the released hostages were under its custody.

“The person in charge of the kidnapped and missing persons, Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, together with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and security forces, received them at the border of the Gaza Strip, and at the moment they are heading to the meeting point at a military base in the center of the country, where members are waiting for them their families,” a spokesman for the Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

“The Israeli government, the IDF and all security services will continue to operate with maximum efficiency to find all missing persons and bring all abducted persons home,” the statement said.

Biden spoke by phone with Netanyahu during which they discussed ongoing efforts to free hostages taken by Hamas.

He also discussed with Netanyahu "plans to begin delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza from Egypt" and allowing American citizens in Gaza and other civilians to leave the area.

“The President reaffirmed the United States' support for Israel's right to self-defense and the responsibility to protect its citizens. He emphasized the importance of acting in accordance with the rules of war, including the protection of civilians in Gaza caught up in the Hamas conflict,” the White House said.

Netanyahu previously said aid could not flow into Gaza until Hamas released the hostages, although Biden said he had secured a commitment from Israel and Egypt to begin delivering aid.

On October 20, Biden said that at least 24 trucks carrying humanitarian aid should cross the Gaza border with Egypt in the next 48-20 hours.

Earlier this week, Rabbi Meir Hecht said Judith and her daughter Natalie, who turned 18 last week, were traveling to Israel for a relative's 85th birthday and to celebrate Jewish holidays.

Ben Raanan said that after losing contact with his mother and sister as a result of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, Biden contacted the family and they discussed everything.

Israel said Hamas is holding at least 203 hostages in the Gaza Strip who were kidnapped during the terrorist organization's first attack, which combined a massive rocket attack with ground infiltration and massacre that left an estimated 1400 people dead.

The Biden administration said more than a dozen Americans were still missing, but did not confirm that they were being held hostage by Hamas.

American families in Israel have come forward to say they believe their loved ones are being held hostage by a terrorist organization.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking from the State Department podium, called for the immediate and unconditional release of all Hamas hostages.

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He said he could not speak about the condition of the two freed Americans out of respect for their privacy and because U.S. officials were working to contact them, assess their condition and reunite them with loved ones.

Blinken said he had no further information about the condition of Americans still being held by Hamas and could not comment on the details of ongoing efforts to free them.

“As for Qatar, in this case I can only say one thing: we really appreciate their help,” he said.

Hamas released videos of hostages, including Israeli Mia Shem, who said her arm was wounded during the initial Hamas attack. Shem underwent surgery in the Gaza Strip, demonstrating that the terrorist group took care of her.

Hamas has said it seeks to use the hostages as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. According to the terrorists, they treat the hostages as “distinguished guests.”

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

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