Chicago teen held hostage by Hamas returns to US

Chicago, Illinois - American teenager Natalie Raanan who was held hostage by Hamas in the Israel-Gaza war has returned home to Chicago, the local Israeli consulate said Tuesday.

American teenager Natalie Raanan (l.) who was held hostage by Hamas has returned home to Chicago, the local Israeli consulate said Tuesday.
American teenager Natalie Raanan (l.) who was held hostage by Hamas has returned home to Chicago, the local Israeli consulate said Tuesday.  © REUTERS

Raanan and her mother Judith were visiting relatives in Israel when they were taken hostage by Hamas in the terrorist organization's October 7 attack.

Both have since been released, though her mother stayed in Israel, Chicago media reported.

"I am relieved to see Natalie back home in Chicago," Yinam Cohen, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, said in a statement.

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"Her family members have been anxiously waiting for her return, and today I am sharing their happiness."

Both women live in Evanston, just north of the city. The two were released on October 20, in the first hostage release confirmed by both sides.

Hamas took the hostages, believed to now number around 240, during their bloody cross-border raid on Israeli communities and military posts on October 7. According to Israeli officials, the raid killed 1,400 people.

In response to the initial attack, Israeli warplanes have kept up a relentless barrage of strikes on Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry said that 8,525 people had died so far including over 3,500 children.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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