CHICAGO — Illinois elected leaders have spoken out in support of the release of a mother and daughter from Evanston who were being held hostage by Hamas.

In a statement, the Palestinian militant group said that in an agreement with the Qatari government, it was freeing Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie for humanitarian reasons.

SEE ALSO: Mother, daughter from Evanston who were held hostage by Hamas have been released

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and many other leaders in the Chicago area and beyond issued statements Friday, expressing gratitude and excitement in welcoming Judith and Natalie home.

The family’s rabbi confirmed with WGN News that the pair has been released and handed over to the Red Cross and will be taken to Egypt.

Mother, daughter from Evanston who were held hostage by Hamas have been released
A photo provided to WGN News offered a first look at the Chicago-area Hamas captives following their release. (Credit: Israeli Prime Minister’s Office)

I am incredibly relieved that Natalie and Judith Raanan of Evanston have been released from captivity in Gaza.

In what was supposed to be a visit to their loving family in Israel, they were violently abducted by a terrorist organization. After being held against their will for nearly two weeks, they are now safe and receiving necessary medical treatment.

I cannot wait to welcome them back home after demonstrating immense strength and bravery in the face of unthinkable terror. We must continue to advocate and pray for the safe return of those still held by Hamas. We will not let those who use terror as their weapon win.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


The past two weeks have been absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking, but today, we got a message of hope. Moments ago, I received word that two of my constituents, Judith and Natalie Raanan, a mother and daughter from Evanston who were being held hostage by Hamas, have been released.

They are currently in good hands with the Red Cross, but I cannot wait to welcome them back home. I am sending them my love and strength.

I will continue to pray and do all I can to ensure the safe and swift return of all other hostages held by Hamas.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) 


The release of two Illinoisans, Judith and Natalie Raanan, who’ve been held hostage by Hamas since last weekend’s awful terrorist attacks in Israel is an undeniable relief—not only for those of us who’ve been working for their release but for their family, friends and all their loved ones who can breathe a little easier today.

This is—and should be—a day of celebration for them, but I know there are still so many families going through the unimaginable anguish of worrying about the fate of their loved ones still being held hostage and my heart goes out to them today too.

I, along with our entire government, remain hard at work doing everything I can to ensure the Americans—and anyone—still in Hamas captivity can return home safely. Hamas owes these families the swift release of all hostages, and they must immediately allow life-saving medical care to reach those still in their custody as we work to secure their safe release.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth


I’m grateful that Natalie and Judith Raanan from Evanston have been released from captivity by Hamas.  

For a mother and daughter to be attacked and held hostage by a terrorist organization while visiting family is unconscionable. 

My thoughts are with them as they recover in safety. I look forward to welcoming them home to Illinois and pray for the release and safe return of every individual who is being held hostage.”

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton


Amid so much tragedy and heartbreak, I am overjoyed for Judith, Natalie, and their family. While this is a moment of celebration—especially for the Chicagoland community—we cannot rest until every single hostage taken by the terrorist organization Hamas is released.”

U.S. Representative Jonathan L. Jackson (D-IL-01) 


This story will be updated as more comments become available.