Hamas’ armed wing the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades has released two U.S. hostages – a mother and her daughter – “for humanitarian reasons” in response to Qatari mediation efforts, its spokesman Abu Ubaida said in a statement on Friday.
Abu Ubaida said they released the citizens “for humanitarian reasons, and to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by (President Joe) Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”
Israel responded to the hostage crisis and the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas gunmen which killed 1,400 Israelis by pounding Gaza with air strikes, killing more than 4,000 people, and has said it will act to free the hostages while wiping out Hamas.
It amassed tanks and troops near the perimeter of the enclave for an expected ground invasion, calling on Palestinians to evacuate the north of Gaza, where it says Hamas is dug in.
Israel has also said that there will be no end to its full blockade of the enclave unless Israeli hostages are freed.
Hamas says it has 200 hostages and that 50 more are held by other armed groups in the enclave. It said more than 20 hostages have been killed by Israeli air strikes, but has not given any further details.