Former NBC News correspondent based in Israel, Martin Fletcher, reacted Friday to the announcement of the release of two relatives of his wife, taken hostage by Hamas.
“My wife is in direct contact with her family in Israel,” Fletcher said Friday on MSNBC. “And he was told that the hostages are now with the Red Cross in Israel. And that’s all we know.”
“Obviously, it’s a huge sigh of relief,” Fletcher said later, “and at the same time there’s concern that there are so many other hostages. And the question being: is it the start of some sort of prisoner exchange?”
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Fletcher explained that American mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan of Evanston, Illinois, are distant cousins of his wife but are part of a “close-knit family.”
“I can tell you one thing, the family rallied around them in an extraordinary way in the hope that this would happen. And the fact that it actually happened was like a miracle,” Fletcher said .
The veteran journalist, who previously served as NBC News bureau chief in Tel Aviv, speculated that Hamas “suddenly” releasing two American hostages could indicate a “calculated” move regarding a possible prisoner exchange.
However, Fletcher also revealed that he still has a relative among the remaining hostages, with his family having buried another relative murdered during the October 7 attacks.
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Fletcher had already become emotional when he revealed on MSNBC that two of the hostages were members of his family.
“We’re talking about six degrees of separation. So Israel is a small country with one or two degrees of separation, so I just found out today that two members of my wife’s family are among the hostages,” Fletcher said to MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Thursday.
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The Raanans were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel, near the Gaza Strip, during the October 7 attacks.
A source confirmed to Fox News on Friday that both members of Fletcher’s family had been released “on humanitarian grounds” following Qatari mediation efforts.
On Friday, at least 11 Americans were reportedly being held captive by Hamas.
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