A mother and daughter from the suburbs of Chicago were likely captured as hostages by Hamas during their trip to Israel to celebrate a Jewish holiday season and a birthday party, according to their rabbi.
Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan, traveled to Nahal Oz in Israel, about a mile from the Gaza border, to celebrate a relative's 85th birthday and Simchat Torah.
"We received this terrible news that Judith and her daughter Natalie are missing and apparently were most likely taken as hostages to Gaza," Rabbi Meir Hecht of Evanston, Illinois, told The Associated Press. "It feels like our community has been violated."
It has been over a week since the Raanans' family members heard from them. They were in Israel when Hamas launched a surprise attack against the country on Saturday, Oct. 7, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war against the terrorist group.
Hamas has abducted an estimated 150 people, including about 13 Americans, since then.
The Evanston community organized a vigil for the two missing women on Oct. 12.
Natalie's uncle, Avi Zamir, described the teenager as a "kind person" and a "sweetheart" at the event. "We fear for her. We pray for her. We hope she's together with her mom," Zamir said.
"They’re innocent and loving," said her aunt, Sigal Zamir, "and they didn’t do anything."
More than 3,600 people, including 30 Americans, have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel just over a week ago.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday the U.S. is "actively trying" to locate hostages taken in Gaza and "won't rule anything in or out" regarding the American effort.
"We are actively trying to find out where they are," Kirby told "Fox News Sunday" host Shannon Bream. "We don’t even know how many exactly. A small handful we know, but there could be more than we know. They could be in different groups. They could be moved around. I think you can understand. I hope everybody can understand – we’re gonna be careful about what we say publicly about our efforts to get those hostages home."
Fox News' Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.