The captivity for two of the American hostages taken by Hamas during its deadly surprise attack on Israel has ended. U.S. President Joe Biden thanked the government of Qatar for helping secure their release. The two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and Natalie Shoshana Raanan were released by Hamas on Friday.
“I just spoke with the two Americans released today after being held hostage by Hamas. I let them know that their government will fully support them as they recover and heal,” Biden said. “Jill and I will continue holding close in our hearts all the families of unaccounted-for Americans.”
On Oct. 7, as part of the surprise attack on Israel at the beginning of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, Hamas militants kidnapped around 200 people to the Gaza Strip and estimated that another 50 had been kidnapped by other Palestinian factions. Most of the captives were Israeli civilians, with a smaller number of soldiers and foreign nationals. The captives are being held in different locations in the Gaza Strip.
Some of the kidnapped are foreign nationals including from Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 11 Thai citizens working in greenhouses in the Gaza periphery were also kidnapped. Nepal confirmed seven of its citizens who are university students were kidnapped in Herzliya and ten more Nepalis in Alumim were abducted. Italy announced that 10 of its citizens were kidnapped and brought to Gaza, including a one-year-old baby. At least one Filipino was abducted.
More than 3,700 people have been killed and more than 13,000 have been injured in Gaza. In Israel, 1,400 people have been killed and 3,500 have been wounded.
In response to the war, President Biden announced that the United States is providing $100 million in humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. This funding will help support over a million displaced and conflict-affected people with clean water, food, hygiene support, medical care, and other essential needs. The United States provides humanitarian assistance through trusted partners including UN agencies and international NGOs.
“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism. Civilian lives must be protected and assistance must urgently reach those in need. We will continue to work closely with partners in the region to stress the importance of upholding the law of war, supporting those who are trying to get to safety or provide assistance, and facilitating access to food, water, medical care, and shelter,” President Biden said.