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American-Israeli teenager held captive by Hamas returns home to Chicago after release

CHICAGO — American-Israeli teenager Natalie Raanan, held hostage after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and later released, has returned home to Chicago, the local Israeli consulate said Tuesday.

Raanan and her mother Judith were visiting relatives in Israel when they were taken hostage. Both have since been released, although his mother remained in Israel, Chicago media reported.

“I am relieved to see Natalie back home in Chicago,” Yinam Cohen, Israel’s consul general in the Midwest, said in a statement. “His family members were impatiently awaiting his return and today I share their happiness.”

Both women live in Evanston, just north of the city. Natalie turned 18 shortly after her release from captivity.

Both men were released on October 20, in the first hostage release confirmed by both sides. Since then, Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, have also been released from the Gaza Strip, and on Monday it was revealed that IDF soldier Cpl. Ori Megidish was rescued by Israeli forces.

Natalie Raanan was born in the United States, moved to Israel with Judith until she was about 10, then returned to the United States, where she currently lives, her father said.

This photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, taken October 20, 2023, shows Natalie Raanan (left) and her mother Judith Raanan speaking on the phone with U.S. President Joe Biden, after being held hostage and then released by the authorities. Hamas terrorist group in power in Gaza. (US Embassy in Jerusalem/AFP)

The mother and daughter were in Nahal Oz, near the border with Gaza, on October 7 when Hamas terrorists stormed into southern Israel in their devastating assault.

Eight other members of Judith and Natalie’s extended family are among the hostages. Two extended family members were killed by terrorists during the Hamas attack on October 7.

Hamas took the hostages, estimated to number around 240, during a bloody carnage in southern Israel, killing 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

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