On Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during a press brief that there are an estimated ten American hostages still held captive in Gaza. This comes after Hamas released two American hostages earlier in the day.
While Blinken shared the good news about the two freed hostages, Judith and Natalie Raanan of Chicago, the Biden official did not disclose further information surrounding the status and conditions of the remaining hostages in custody of both Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, Daily Mail reports.
“We welcome (the Raanans’) release. We share in the relief that their families, friends, and loved ones are feeling,” Blinken told reporters.
“But there are still ten additional Americans who remain unaccounted for in this conflict. Some of them are being held hostage by Hamas along with an estimated 200 other hostages held in Gaza. They include men, women and young boys, young girls and people from many nations,” he said. “Every single one of them should be released.”
The US State Department reported that 32 American citizens have been killed since Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, and slaughtered more than 1400 civilian men, women, and children.
In a statement announcing the release of the Raanans, who are mother and daughter, Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obaida said: “In response to Qatari efforts, Al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens (a mother and her daughter) for humanitarian reasons, and to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”
However, not all hostages have been given the same fate as the Raanans. On Thursday, two Israeli-Americans, ages 80 and 12, who were taken as hostages by Hamas were announced dead by the Israeli Defense Force.
The Raanans were released to the Red Cross and are en route to an undisclosed US military base where they will be reunited with their family. Judith and Natalie were in Israel to visit family when they were kidnapped.
President Biden said during his visit to Israel on Wednesday that rescuing American hostages is the nation’s top priority.
“I can’t speak publicly about all the details, but let me assure you: For me as the American president, there is no higher priority than the release and safe return of all these hostages,” Biden during a meeting with PM Netanyahu.
“To those who are living in limbo, waiting desperately to learn the fate of a loved one, especially to families of the hostages – You’re not alone. We’re working with partners throughout the region, pursuing every avenue to bring home those who are being held captive by Hamas,” Biden said.