US has ‘asked Israel to DELAY ground invasion of Gaza in bid to free more hostages from Hamas and to help aid enter the war-torn strip’
- More than 200 people are believed to be kidnapped by the terrorists, and on Friday two American were freed from Gaza amid the escalating conflict
- And on Saturday, when asked if he would be encouraging Israel to delay the imminent ground invasion, Joe Biden responded: ‘I’m talking to the Israelis’
The US government has asked Israel to delay its ground invasion of Gaza in a bid to free more hostages that were captured by Hamas – and to help aid enter into the war-torn strip, according to sources.
More than 200 people are believed to be kidnapped by the terrorists, and on Friday two American were freed from Gaza amid the escalating conflict.
A source who spoke to CNN said: ‘The [administration] pressed Israeli leadership to delay because of progress on the hostage front.’
And on Saturday, when asked if he would be encouraging Israel to delay the imminent ground invasion, Joe Biden responded: ‘I’m talking to the Israelis.’
Natalie Shoshana Raanan, 17, and her mother Judith Tai Raanan, 59, arrived back in Israel late on Friday, the Israeli government confirmed, having left Gaza via an Egyptian-controlled crossing.
Palestinian people conduct a search and rescue operation under the debris of a destroyed building after the Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah
Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan arrived back in Israel late on Friday, the Israeli government confirmed
The Raanans walked out of Gaza without obvious visible physical injuries, getting out of a car and then being surrounded by ICRC staff wearing vests bearing the red cross. The pair then got into a Red Cross vehicle and drove away.
They are now receiving medical treatment, the governor of Illinois said, without providing details of their condition. The deal to free the pair was brokered by Qatar.
Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, said Hamas is still feared to be holding 10 Americans hostage.
The Secretary of State revealed the number still missing during a press conference in which he announced the release of Judith and Natalie Raanan.
Blinken said he had no further information to offer on the ‘status or condition’ of the Americans still believed to be in Hamas custody following the October 7 terror attacks.
‘I can’t speak publicly about the details of these efforts, and I know you understand that, but the urgent work to free every single American, to free all other hostages continues – as does our work to secure the safe passage out of Gaza for the Americans who are trapped there,’ he said.
‘In this particular instance, I want to thank the Government of Qatar for their very important assistance.’
Jeremy Bash, former CIA chief of staff, said Qatar was valuable as an intermediary because Hamas’ political leadership works and lives out of Qatar and Turkey.
‘When there has been a need to get messages to Hamas in the past, usually Qatar is one of the go-betweens,’ said Bash.
Bash said Judith and Natalie Raanan will likely be carefully debriefed by the IDF and the Israeli security agency Shin Bet about any information they heard from their time under captivity.
That could include intelligence about other hostages and Hamas’ communication tactics, he told NBC.
‘This is going to be very actionable intelligence.’
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