Two American Israelis taken hostage on October 7 have been released by Hamas. Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie, both from Chicago, were released by Hamas to the Red Cross Friday and returned to Israel from Gaza, following a deal brokered by the government of Qatar. They are reportedly in good health. Over the weekend, a spokesperson for Hamas said the group offered to release two Israelis on humanitarian grounds, only to have Israel’s government refuse the offer. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office dismissed the claim as “mendacious propaganda.” Israel’s military says it believes 212 people are being held as hostages in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has reportedly advised Israel to delay an anticipated ground invasion of Gaza in order to allow more time for further hostage negotiations.