The Israeli government has released the first photograph of the two American hostages, a mother and daughter, since their release on Friday by Hamas militants who had held them captive in Gaza.
The image depicts 59-year-old Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie Raanan being escorted by IDF soldiers following their liberation. Despite this progress, an estimated 200 individuals remain hostage to Hamas, ten of whom are Americans.
On Friday, October 20, 2023, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie Raanan were released by Hamas following their kidnapping on October 7. At the time of their kidnapping, Judith and Natalie were visiting family members at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in Israel.
According to an interview with Time magazine given by Judith’s sister, the two were taken during a surprise attack. A photograph provided by the Israeli Government depicting the mother and daughter after their release was included in the report.
Judith is from Evanston, Illinois while Natalie recently graduated from Deerfield High School.
Saturday morning, we woke up to a devastating war. There were 150 terrorists in the kibbutz. I was in touch with [Natalie and Judith] through WhatsApp messages, because everybody there was told not to speak over the phone, or just whisper. The last message was at 12:18. Natalie wrote that they’re hearing shots, and they’re in the security room. And they’re OK and they love us. That was the last signal of life we had from them. They stopped answering me.
Hamas took the two husbands and Judith and Natalie handcuffed into a car, they were alive and uninjured according to the eyewitness. We know that they can be found alive. We know from an eyewitness that Hamas took them uninjured. This is why we have hope. We know that they left there on their feet, unharmed, from that apartment. But since then, we know nothing. And this is why time is crucial.
At his Friday press briefing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his relief at the release of two Americans and shared in the relief being felt by their families, friends, and loved ones.
He also highlighted that there are still 10 additional Americans unaccounted for among the estimated 200 still held by Hamas in this conflict.
Two of the hostages, mother and daughter Yehudit Tai and Natali Shoshana Raanan were released by the Hamas terror organization and were transferred to the Israeli border via the Red Cross.
They are on their way to an army base in central Israel were their families are anxiously… pic.twitter.com/xCGFfVEQa1
— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) October 20, 2023
On Thursday night, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office, emphasizing his commitment to securing the safe return of Americans held captive by Hamas.
He declared that there is “no higher priority” for him than ensuring their safety. On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that they had assisted in the release of some Raanans and remain ready to facilitate any future releases resulting from an agreement between relevant parties.