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Biden speaks to American mother and daughter who were freed by Hamas, says I’m so glad you’re coming' I WATCH

Hamas released two American citizens who were kept captive in Gaza since their October 7 raid on Israel. The Palestinian militant group said in a statement that in an agreement with the Qatari government, it was freeing a mother and her teenage daughter.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Washington Updated on: October 22, 2023 8:44 IST
US President Joe Biden while speaking to the hostages.
Image Source : TWITTER/@JOEBIDEN US President Joe Biden while speaking to the hostages.

US President Joe Biden, on Saturday, spoke to two freed Americans who had been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza and said, "Judith and Natalie, I’m so glad you’re coming home."

Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, were released Friday. It was the first such hostage release from among the roughly 200 people the militant group abducted from Israel during its Oct. 7 rampage.

Biden spoke with them in a video posted Saturday on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. He told the women that he was glad they had been released.

“We’re going to get them all out, God willing,” he said.

Natalie thanked Biden for his “services” to Israel. Judith said they are in good health. Hamas said it released the mother and daughter for humanitarian reasons in an agreement with the Qatari government.

Family members have said Judith and Natalie had been on a trip from their home in the Chicago suburb of Evanston to Israel to celebrate Judith’s mother’s birthday and the Jewish holidays. Relatives of other captives welcomed the release and appealed for more people to be freed.

 

The release comes amid growing expectations of a ground offensive that Israel says is aimed at rooting out Hamas militants who rule Gaza. Israel said Friday it does not plan to take long-term control over the tiny territory, home to some 2.3 million people.

Committed to mediation efforts by Egypt, Qatar: Hamas 

Hamas said in a statement that it was working with mediators “to close the case” of hostages if security circumstances permit. The group added that it is committed to mediation efforts by Egypt, Qatar and other countries.
Qatar said it would continue its dialogue with Israel and Hamas in hopes of winning the release of all hostages “with the ultimate aim of de-escalating the current crisis and restoring peace.”

Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel continued to work to return hostages and find the missing, and its goals had not changed. “We are continuing the war against Hamas and ready for the next stage of the war,” he said.

A potential Israeli ground assault is likely to lead to a dramatic escalation in casualties on both sides in urban fighting. More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed in the war — mostly civilians slain during the Hamas incursion.

More than 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry run by Hamas. That includes a disputed number of people who died in a hospital explosion earlier this week.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Israel-Hamas War: Trucks carrying desperately-needed humanitarian aid cross into Gaza from Rafah border

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