EVANSTON, Ill. (WGN) — An Illinois teen who was taken hostage by Hamas during its raid on Israel earlier this month has returned home.
Natalie Raanan, who was taken hostage during the Oct. 7 raid on Israel by Hamas, was released on Oct. 20, for humanitarian reasons after an agreement between the Palestinian militant group and the Qatari government.
Yinam Cohen, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, said Natalie returned home Monday to Evanston, a suburb of 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,” Cohen said in a statement on Monday evening. “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.“
Natalie and her mother, Judith Tai Raanan, had traveled to Nahal Oz, Israel, near the Gaza border, to celebrate a relative’s 85th birthday and Jewish holidays when the raid by Hamas took place. Currently, it is unclear when Natalie’s mother will return home.
The announcement of their release sparked an outpouring of joy and excitement from many in the community as well as officials from around the country, including President Biden.