The father of freed American teen hostage Natalie Raanan stated Friday she’s doing nicely following two weeks in captivity after she and her mother have been kidnapped in Israel by Hamas and held in Gaza.
Uri Raanan of Illinois instructed The Associated Press that he spoke to his daughter Friday by phone. “She’s doing good. She’s doing very good,” stated Uri, who lives within the Chicago suburbs. “I’m in tears, and I feel very, very good.”
The 71-year-old stated he noticed on the information earlier Friday that an American mother and daughter can be launched by Hamas, and he spent the day hoping that meant his daughter and her mother, Judith.
Knowing Natalie could possibly have a good time her 18th birthday subsequent week at house with household and pals feels “wonderful. The best news,” Uri Raanan stated.
He stated he believes Natalie and Judith to be in transit to Tel Aviv to reunite with relations, and that each can be again within the U.S. early subsequent week.
U.S. President Joe Biden was among the many many celebrating the beautiful information that the Raanans had been freed.
An Israeli military spokesman stated the 2 Americans have been out of the Gaza Strip and with the Israeli army. Hamas stated Friday it launched them for humanitarian causes in an settlement with the Qatari authorities.
They have been the primary hostages to be launched since Hamas militants, in line with Israel, kidnapped roughly 200 folks throughout their Oct. 7 rampage.
“I am overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their family, who has been wracked with fear,” Biden stated in Washington. The president spoke Friday with Judith and Natalie and “relayed that they will have the full support of the U.S. government as they recover from this terrible ordeal,” the White House stated.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which transported the freed Americans from Gaza to Israel, stated their launch supplied “a sliver of hope” for these nonetheless being held.
Judith and Natalie Ranaan had been on a visit from their house within the Chicago suburb of Evanston to Israel to have a good time the Jewish holidays, in line with members of the family. They have been in Nahal Oz, close to Gaza, on Oct. 7 for Simchat Torah, a festive Jewish vacation, when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israeli cities, killing a whole lot of individuals and abducting dozens of others.
Their household had heard nothing from them because the assault and have been later instructed by U.S. and Israeli officers that they have been being held in Gaza, Natalie’s brother Ben has stated.
“The news that Judith and Natalie have been released from the hands of Hamas is overwhelming. It brings us a tremendous amount of gratitude to the Almighty, to God, for this incredible miracle,” Meir Hecht, Judith Raanan’s rabbi, stated at a press convention outdoors his house in Evanston on Friday afternoon.
“At the same time we hold our pain very deep,” stated Hecht, who known as for the opposite hostages to be launched as quickly as potential. “We need to continue besieging whoever we can and however we can, and praying for their release.”
Judith got here frequently to Meir’s congregation and felt like “part of our family,” the rabbi stated.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth expressed reduction at information of the Raanans’ launch whereas asking folks to recollect different households whose relations have been kidnapped.
“They are now safe and receiving necessary medical treatment,” Pritzker stated of Natalie and Judith. “I cannot wait to welcome them back home after demonstrating immense strength and bravery in the face of unthinkable terror.”
French President Emmanuel Macron stated the discharge of the 2 Americans is “a very good result” and expressed hope it might assist pave the way in which for others to be freed, together with French-Israelis feared held in Gaza.
Qatar stated it could proceed its dialogue with Israel and Hamas in hopes of successful the discharge of all hostages “with the ultimate aim of de-escalating the current crisis and restoring peace.”
Israeli army spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stated Israel was persevering with to work to return hostages and discover the lacking, and its objectives had not modified. “We are continuing the war against Hamas and ready for the next stage of the war,” he stated.
The launch comes amid rising expectations of a floor offensive that Israel says is aimed toward rooting out Hamas militants who rule Gaza.