Israel-Hamas War

Natalie Raanan returns home to Chicago after being taken hostage by Hamas in Israel

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The Evanston woman, who along with her mother was held hostage by Hamas for several weeks, is back in the Chicago area after being freed earlier this month, according to Israel's government.

Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, released a statement on Monday evening, saying Natalie Raanan had just returned to Chicago.

“I am relieved to see Natalie back home in Chicago. Her family members have been anxiously waiting for her return, and today I am sharing their happiness," he said, in part. "While we’re celebrating Natalie’s return, we remember the 239 hostages, among them babies, children, women, and the elderly, who are still held by Hamas in Gaza."

This week, Cohen said, family members of those still held hostage by Hamas will be in Chicago to share their stories and call for their release.

Natalie and her mother, Judith Tai Raanan, were taken hostage by Hamas during terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 that spearheaded a war in southern Israel and left thousands dead. Natalie and Judith were visiting Israel to celebrate Judith's mother's birthday along with the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah when the attacks occurred.

Hamas released the two for "humanitarian reasons" on Oct. 20 following a deal brokered by Qatar.

Talks to free some of the 230 hostages still being held by Hamas stalled Friday after the group demanded that Israel allow fuel deliveries to Gaza and Hamas declined to guarantee the release of a large number of foreign captives, a former U.S. official with knowledge of the negotiations said. Twelve Americans are believed to be among those still being held captive by the terrorist group.

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