(NewsNation) — Two American hostages, a mother and daughter, have been released by Hamas for “humanitarian reasons,” according to a spokesperson for the militant group.
NewsNation local affiliate WGN is reporting that the two being released are Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie of Evanston, Illinois. They had been visiting Israel to celebrate a relative’s birthday and Jewish holidays when they were taken hostage, according to the family’s rabbi Meir Hecht.
On X, the social media site known as Twitter, Israel also said Tai Raanan and Natalie were released, and are on their way to an army base in central Israel.
“We will do everything in our power to bring the rest of the hostages home,” Israel said.
Hecht said in an interview with NewsNation’s Natasha Zouves that while their community is happy and thankful for Tai Raanan and Natalie’s release, they are continuing to pray for the rest of the hostages as well.
The State Department will give a briefing this afternoon where they are expected to give updates on this development. NewsNation will stream the agency’s remarks in the player above.
U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement he is “overjoyed” Tai Raanan and Natalie will be reunited with their family soon.
“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,” Biden said.
The Israeli military said around 203 people were believed to be captured by Hamas after its Oct. 7 attack on the country that killed 1,400 people.
Israel’s government swiftly declared war, sending airstrikes into Gaza and sealing supplies from the area.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said Friday that 4,137 Palestinians have been killed and more than 13,000 others wounded.
Some of the information that NewsNation’s Robert Sherman has been getting from the Israeli Defense Forces is that a majority of the hostages currently being held are still alive.
A reconnaissance mission was sent into the Gaza Strip, where the IDF actually put boots on the ground to gain more evidence as to exactly where some of the hostages are.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.