Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, has released two U.S. hostages from Gaza – a mother and her daughter – “for humanitarian reasons” in response to Qatari mediation efforts in the war with Israel, its spokesman Abu Ubaida said on Friday.
Hamas says it took about 200 hostages during a deadly Oct. 7 rampage carried out from the Gaza Strip on communities and military bases in southern Israel, part of the biggest attack on the country since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Hamas said 50 more are held by other armed groups in the enclave. It said more than 20 hostages have been killed by Israeli air strikes, but has not given any further details.
From the White House:
Today, we have secured the release of two Americans taken hostage by Hamas during the horrific terrorist assault against Israel on October 7. Our fellow citizens have endured a terrible ordeal these past 14 days, and I am overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their family, who has been wracked with fear.
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.
From the earliest moments of this attack, we have been working around-the-clock to free American citizens who were taken hostage by Hamas, and we have not ceased our efforts to secure the release of those who are still being held.
I thank the government of Qatar and the government of Israel for their partnership in this work. Jill and I have been holding close in our hearts all the families of unaccounted for Americans.
And, as I told those families when I spoke with them last week—we will not stop until we get their loved ones home. As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans held hostage around the world.
— Ben LaBolt (@WHCommsDir) October 20, 2023
BREAKING: Three sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell NBC News that two American hostages held by Hamas have been released. pic.twitter.com/xtToTkZwfw
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 20, 2023