John Bolton
John BoltonReuters

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton said he thinks the release of two American hostages by Hamas on Friday was a delay tactic, The Hill reports.

“Well obviously we should be very happy that at least two people have been let go,” Bolton was quoted as having said in an interview with Newsmax. “But … given the way Hamas put it, and given what we know about Hamas and how it operates, what the character of its leadership is, I have to say for those concerned with the other hostages, I think this is an entirely cynical move by them.”

Bolton opined that the release of the two hostages was an effort by Hamas to delay the IDF from going into Gaza, warning the delay will allow Hamas to “create more booby traps for them.”

“And it puts the lives of the remaining 200 plus hostages in even further jeopardy, but this is … hard logic to talk about it this way,” Bolton told Newsmax. “We’d hope that a civilized group would … leave everybody, let everybody go. That isn’t going to happen. They’re trying to play for time here, that’s what this is about.”

Judith and Natalie Raanan, residents of the Chicago area, were freed on Friday by Hamas after nearly two weeks in captivity, with the terrorist organization citing “humanitarian reasons” for their release.

The two had been visiting family in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, located near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, during the Hamas attack on October 7.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the release of the two hostages, saying, “These individuals and their family will have the full support of the United States government as they recover and heal, and we should all respect their privacy in this moment.”

“I thank the government of Qatar and the government of Israel for their partnership in this work,” he added.

Biden spoke on the phone with the hostages after they were freed, relaying that they have the full support of the US government as they recover.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that 10 Americans remain unaccounted for after Hamas’ attack on Israel, and some of them are among the estimated 200 people being held hostage by Hamas.

"When I was in Israel last week, I met the families of US citizens that Hamas has taken hostage. It's impossible to adequately put into words the agony they're feeling," he said.