IDF Detains Two Americans in Gaza, Family Reports

Credits: UAU - Les Ulis

Two U.S. citizens were apprehended by the Israel Defense Forces during a raid on a residence in Gaza early Thursday morning local time, as reported by a family member in the United States.

According to Yasmeen Elagha, who identified herself as their cousin, Hashem Alagha, 20, and Borak Alagha, 18, were among a group of approximately 20 men detained by IDF soldiers during the incident.

She mentioned that both men are American citizens, born in the suburbs of Chicago and raised there in their early childhood. She also disclosed that their father, a Canadian citizen, was also detained. Elagha, in communication with CNN, stated that she spoke with Hashem’s mother, her aunt, who was present during the incident.

Two Americans Detained By IDF (Credits: Al Jazeera)

The mother claimed that IDF forces broke through a door while the group was sleeping, restrained the women and children inside the home, and took all the men into custody. As of now, they are unaware of the whereabouts of the detained men.

Elagha affirmed that the home belongs to her uncle and her family has no affiliations with Hamas. CNN has sought comments from the IDF, but no response has been received.

The U.S. State Department is aware of the reports about the Israeli military detaining two American citizens in Gaza, according to a spokesperson.

During a press briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel stated, “We are aware of these reports and are currently seeking additional information, but I don’t have any additional information to share and would not be able to at this point, given privacy considerations.”

This development arises during a sensitive time in U.S.-Israeli relations. On Wednesday, U.S. efforts to encourage the Israeli government toward a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza faced a setback when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed a counterproposal from Hamas as “delusional.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel on Wednesday, indicated that negotiations toward an agreement would persist.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza, initiated four months ago after the Hamas attack, has inflicted a severe humanitarian toll on the strip, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties and pushing the population of Gaza to the brink of famine. Patel stated that they believe “the vast majority” of U.S. citizens seeking to leave Gaza have contacted the State Department.

He further mentioned that, since October 7, the U.S. has “assisted nearly 1,600 individuals, including U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other eligible family members with entry into Egypt from Gaza… from the Rafah border crossing.”

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