Hamas releases 2 American hostages

Hamas has released two American captives, a spokesman for the Palestinian group said on Friday. The group added that it freed the hostages to prove US President Joe Biden’s “fascist” administration is wrong.

“In response to Qatari efforts, Al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens for humanitarian reasons,” Abu Obaida said in a statement, referring to Hamas’ military wing.

He added that the move was intended “to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”

It is unclear which of Biden’s claims that Obaida was referencing, although the Hamas spokesman may have been referring to the American leader’s declaration on Wednesday that the group’s fighters “have committed atrocities that make Daesh look more rational.”

Obaida stated that the two Americans released were a mother and her daughter. The women were named in Israeli media as Judith and Natalie Raanan.

Hamas announced that it is currently holding around 200 hostages in Gaza, while another 50 are being held by other groups in the territory, and 20 have been killed in Israeli airstrikes.

Earlier this week, senior Hamas official Khaled Mashaal suggested that Israeli captives could be traded for Palestinians in Israeli jails, while foreign hostages would be released “when circumstances allow.”

More than 20 Americans have been reported as missing since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel almost two weeks ago, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday.

Biden told CBS News earlier this week that the US is going to do everything in its power “to get them home if we can find them”.

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