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Natalie Raanan and mother Judith, missing after Hamas attack, believed alive, taken hostage

Missing teen believed alive, taken hostage in Gaza
Missing teen believed alive, taken hostage in Gaza 03:19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The families of the North Shore mother and daughter still missing in Israel said the Israeli government has told them they both were being taken hostage and are believed to be alive.

Family of both Natalie, who recently graduated from Deerfield High School, and mother Judith said they are believed to be alive but is not clear if they are being kept together. 


Natalie's family confirmed they met with President Biden on Zoom Friday. They said Biden reassured the family of his commitment to rescuing the hostages taken by Hamas. 

Meantime her family shared songs of strength and hope in a time of complete darkness.

"They're innocent, and loving, and they didn't do anything; just innocent," said Natalie's aunt, Sigal Zamir.

Natalie's aunt and uncle spoke Thursday night at a small vigil for Natalie and Judith.

Avi Zamir said Natalie texted the family an update shortly after the bombing began during Saturday's Hamas attack on Israel, saying, "We're all fine, yes indeed. Mommy's room that she was sleeping in got bombed, but we are now transferring to another guest house where there is a shelter."

Avi Zamir said the Israeli government told family that they have information to suggest Natalie is a hostage and alive.

She and her mother were visiting family near the Gaza border in a community called Nahal Oz, a kibbutz that was attacked by Hamas over the weekend.

It's the same place Gilat Zamost's sister was visiting at the time of the attack.

"They just lost everything they had. They have nothing. Everything was burned to the ground," Zamost said.

Zamost, who lives in Highland Park, said her sister survived the brutal attack and is now safe, but it's estimated at least 10 are dead, and more than a dozen taken hostage from that one community.

"They heard people banging on the doors, and hearing shots and sirens and rockets," she said. "They were in a safe house. They had managed to get out."

Ohad Harel raced to the Nova Music Festival as rockets flew above him. His sister-in-law, Sharona, was there, and is feared to be a hostage.

"The only thing that I have to keep our optimism in the family is to try and push it all around the world," he said.

Natalie's family said they are hoping for a hostage exchange; not just for her, but for everyone who is currently being held.

An emergency fund has been set up to raise money for that hard-hit kibbutz.

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