DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver man’s family members, who were visiting Israel, were taken hostage Saturday by Hamas.
Ben Raanan spoke with FOX31 and said his family was on a call with President Joe Biden on Friday, confirming the kidnapping. Now they’re in shock and desperately hoping for their loved ones’ safe return home.
Raanan’s 17-year-old sister, Natali Raanan, and her mother, Judith Tai Raanan, from Evanston, Illinois, were visiting relatives and celebrating holiday in Israel in Nahal Oz, near Gaza, when the attacks began on Saturday.
Raanan said his sister sent a text to family saying that she heard bombs and gunfire and said she was going to barricade herself into the house and try to stay quiet. That’s the last contact they had with her.
“We don’t know what her current state is,” he said.
Hamas and other militants in Gaza have said over 130 soldiers and civilians captured from inside Israel were being held.
The daughter recently graduated from Deerfield High School in Illinois. The school principal released the following statement:
It is with great sadness that I share we have received word that DHS alumna, Natalie Raanan (Class of 2023), who was visiting family in Israel, has been reported missing. Her family fears that she has been taken hostage by Hamas. Unfortunately, we have no additional information at this time. We keep Natalie and her family in our hearts, along with all the innocent lives lost, wounded and impacted by the terrorist attack.Deerfield High School Principal Dr. Kathryn Anderson
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said this week that the number of Americans believed to be held as hostages is “very small,” underscoring that 14 Americans are unaccounted for. As of Thursday, 27 Americans were confirmed dead.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.