(As originally published with additional photos, Fri, October 20th 2023, 10:55 PM EDT)
WASHINGTON (TND) — Hamas on Friday freed an American woman and her teenage daughter who they took hostage and held in Gaza for nearly two weeks.
Israel acknowledged Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie — dual citizens from the Chicago area — were safely out of Gaza.
President Joe Biden said in a statement, “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.”
A spokesperson for the Israeli army, RAdm. Daniel Hagari wants to make sure Hamas doesn’t fool the world.
Later Friday, he posted on X, the former Twitter:
“Hamas presents itself to the world as having returned the women they took hostage on humanitarian grounds, while Hamas is in fact a murderous terrorist organization that right now is holding infants, children, women and elderly people hostage in the Gaza Strip, and continuing to commit crimes against humanity.”
Public opinion is important for the terrorists. Take Tuesday’s explosion at Gaza City’s al-Ahli Hospital, for instance.
Hamas immediately blamed Israel, but that seems to not have been the case. France is the latest country to say its military agreed with most conclusions that a Palestinian rocket carrying an explosive charge of about 11 pounds misfired. A senior French military intelligence official told The Associated Press none of its intelligence points to an Israeli strike.
Meanwhile, more Hamas misinformation.
Early on, it claimed 500 people in the hospital were killed, and most were there to seek shelter from bombs and avoid an Israeli ground war. That also seems to not have been the case. First, the death toll was lowered to 200 to 300 people and Friday, Agence France-Presse reported a senior European intelligence source who said no more than 50 people were killed. That’s one-tenth of the number of victims.
Friday, the Israeli army reported the majority of the roughly 200 hostages Hamas took to Gaza are still alive. It added, more than 20 are teenagers and children, and at least 10 of them are adults 60 years old and older.
Hamas has been on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations since Oct. 8, 1997. About a dozen other groups made the list on that date. They include the Palestine Liberation Front, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and PFLP-General Command. No organization has been on the list longer.
Then, on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced, “The United States is imposing sanctions on ten key Hamas terrorist group members, operatives, and financial facilitators in Gaza and elsewhere. These individuals have supported Hamas and other terrorist organizations, enabling Hamas to conduct its brutal terrorism and carry out acts like the vicious attack on Israel. Hamas alone is responsible for the carnage its militants have inflicted on the people of Israel, and it should immediately release all hostages in its custody.”
Also Wednesday, the Treasury Department “imposed sanctions on ten key Hamas terrorist group members, operatives, and financial facilitators in Gaza and elsewhere including Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar. Today’s designations are part of a continuous effort by the United States to root out Hamas’s sources of revenue in the West Bank and Gaza and across the region and is taken in close coordination with regional partners and allies.”
A later post from the Israeli Army had statistics from the two weeks of war:
- “6,900+ rockets fired from Gaza at Israel, with 450+ failed launches inside Gaza.
- “1,400+ killed.
- “4,600+ injured.
- “200+ hostages taken.
- “1,000+ Hamas terrorists neutralized, many after infiltrating Israel.
- “Dozens of senior Hamas terrorist leaders eliminated.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.