Deerfield High grad and mother missing in Israel, and family believes they are being held hostage by Hamas. ‘I want them back.’

Family and friends are desperate for the return of a local mother and daughter believed to be held hostage by Hamas following weekend attacks in Israel and Gaza that left more than 1,500 Israelis and Palestinians dead.

Natalie Raanan and her mom, Judith, were reported missing while visiting family in Israel during the surprise attack, according to a Facebook post by Chabad of Evanston, where Judith is a longtime congregant.

I want them back,” said Uri Raanan, Natalie’s father, his voice breaking as he spoke to the Tribune. “It’s been a very bad time.

Natalie and Judith were visiting relatives in Nahal Oz for Simchat Torah, a festive Jewish holiday that marks the conclusion of the annual reading of the Torah.

The kibbutz, located near the Gaza border, was attacked by militants Saturday, according to CNN.

Violence broke out following Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s declaration of war. The death toll has surpassed 1,500, with thousands more injured or missing. Retaliatory strikes by Israel have left hundreds of dead and wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, sending tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing to United Nations shelters, according to The Associated Press.

Since Uri Raanan’s daughter went missing, he has been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and local family in Israel, he said.

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