Natalie and Judith Raanan in Israel
Natalie and Judith Raanan in IsraelNo credit

Hamas on Friday evening freed two of the hostages it captured during its deadly terrorist attack against Israel on October 7, citing “humanitarian reasons” for doing so.

The two have been identified as Judith Raanan, 59, and Natalie Raanan, 18, a mother and her daughter who are dual Israeli and US nationals.

The two are residents of Chicago and had been visiting family in Kibbutz Nahal Oz on the day of the attack.

Israeli sources confirmed that the two had been handed over to the Red Cross and would be transferred to Egypt. Their families have been notified.

A source told CNN that the two are being released on “humanitarian grounds” because the mother is in poor health.

Gal Hirsch, the coordinator of the issue of prisoners and missing persons, said that the two are in Israeli territory and are making their way to meet their family.

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari confirmed in a press statement that Judith and Natalie Raanan were met by Hirsch at the border.

The Prime Minister’s Office said, “This evening, Judith Raanan and Natalie Raanan were released from the hands of the terrorist organization Hamas.”

“The two were kidnapped by the terrorist organization Hamas in the murderous surprise attack on Saturday, October 7, 2023, when they were staying at Kibbutz Nahal Oz.”

“The person in charge of the abductees and the missing, Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, together with the IDF and the security forces, received them at the Gaza Strip border and at the moment they are on their way to a meeting point at a military base in the center of the country, where their family members are waiting for them.”

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire defense establishment will continue to operate to the best of their abilities and efforts in order to locate all of the missing and return all of the hostages,” the statement concluded.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Two of our kidnapped are home. We will not relent in our effort to return all of the kidnapped and the missing.”

“At the same time, we continue to fight till victory,” he added.

The release of the two is the result of negotiations between Qatar and Hamas which started after Hamas abducted around 200 people from Israel during its October 7 attack.

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum welcomed the return of the two hostages, saying, "Continuing the holding of the hostages is a war crime. Hundreds of families are expecting assistance from the leaders of Arab countries after the actions of Hamas shocked the entire world."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)