Family of released hostages: No celebrating until everybody home

Uri Raanan, right, pauses as he talks to reporters outside his Bannockburn, Illinois, home with his sister Sigal Zamir, left, wife Paola Raanan, center, and her daughter Frida Alonso, after his daughter Natalie, and her mother Judith Raanan were released by Hamas, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Uri Raanan, right, pauses as he talks to reporters outside his Bannockburn, Illinois, home with his sister Sigal Zamir, left, wife Paola Raanan, center, and her daughter Frida Alonso, after his daughter Natalie, and her mother Judith Raanan were released by Hamas, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The family of Judith and Natalia Raanan are tempering their relief over the pair’s release from Hamas captivity, saying they cannot rejoice with so many others still being held hostage by the terror group.

“The release of Judith and Natalie is a moment of extraordinary relief – far beyond anything we can express in words,” say family spokespeople Ayelet, Or, and Limor Sella, cousins of the Illinois-based pair, in an English-language statement. “Unfortunately, we do not have the privilege of celebrating their return, or of mourning our lost loved ones.

“We remain entirely focused on the efforts to secure the return of our eight other family members that remain captive in Gaza, along with the estimated 192 other people still held hostage, which includes numerous Americans and many who are seriously injured and in need of immediate medical treatment,” they say.

They vow to continue working with other families for the hostages’ release, and thank the US administration, Congress “and the many others around the world who were involved in the delicate effort to return our beloved Judith and Natalie.”

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