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Hamas releases two hostages; world leaders to attend Cairo summit

Hamas has released two US hostages, mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan, who were kidnapped as the terrorist organisation attacked southern Israel on October 7.

The women, who were taken from Nahal Oz kibbutz, near the Gaza border, were taken to a military base in central Israel, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

Judith Raanan, left, and her daughter Natalie.

They are the first hostages to be freed since Hamas gunmen burst into Israel nearly two weeks ago, killing 1400 people, mainly civilians, and taking around 200 hostages.

Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, said the hostages were released in response to Qatari mediation efforts “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”.

The women had been on a trip to Israel from their home in suburban Chicago to celebrate Simchat Torah, a festive Jewish holiday when Hamas and other militants stormed into southern Israel.

Their family had heard nothing from them since the attack and were later told by US and Israeli officials that they were being held in Gaza, Natalie’s brother Ben said.

US President Joe Biden said he was “overjoyed” to learn of the release of the women. Biden said his administration has been “working around the clock” to free Americans held hostage by Hamas.

“We have not ceased our efforts to secure the release of those who are still being held,” he said.

At least 4137 Palestinians have been killed, including hundreds of children, and 13,000 wounded in Gaza, according to figures from the Palestinian health ministry.

The UN says more than a million have been made homeless.


https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/israel-hamas-conflict-live-hamas-releases-two-us-hostages-as-israel-prepares-for-ground-invasion-20231021-p5edyb.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Hamas releases two hostages; world leaders to attend Cairo summit

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