‘Anguish turned to joy’: Two American hostages freed by Hamas

Hamas has released two US hostages – a mother and her daughter – “for humanitarian reasons”, Sky News understands.

Their ages are about 60 years old and 18 years old, a source with knowledge of the hostages told Sky News.

Abu Ubaida of the militant organisation’s armed wing said the release was in response to Qatari mediation efforts and to “prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless”.

Israel’s Channel 13 News said Israel has confirmed the release of the two hostages.

It is not immediately clear where the hostages were released to.

Hamas fighters captured 203 hostages and brought them back to Gaza as part of their deadly attack on Israel on 7 October.

Earlier today, Israel said 20 of the hostages being held by Hamas were under 18, while between 10 and 20 were over 60.

More on Israel-hamas War

On Monday, senior Hamas official Khaled Meshaal had demanded 6,000 Palestinian men and women detained in Israel’s jails be released in exchange for the captives in Gaza.

Mr Meshaal, head of Hamas’ diaspora office, said the hostages included high-ranking officers from the Israeli Defence Forces’ Gaza Division, which is responsible for patrolling around the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s head of political and international relations, Dr Basem Naim, told Sky News he did “not know” how many of those kidnapped were still alive because of severed communications due to the “heavy bombardment”.

He also said the ruling Palestinian militant group in Gaza was ready to release civilian hostages when “aggression against our people is stopped”.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News App. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.