Israeli Forces Free Four Hostages After Central Gaza Attack

The Israeli military freed four hostages held by Hamas in Gaza on Saturday as part of a major assault on the central city of Nuseirat. At least 94 Palestinians, including children, were killed in heavy fighting, the Hamas-run government media office said.

Bloomberg
First Published9 Jun 2024, 06:11 AM IST
Israeli Forces Free Four Hostages After Central Gaza Attack
Israeli Forces Free Four Hostages After Central Gaza Attack

The Israeli military freed four hostages held by Hamas in Gaza on Saturday as part of a major assault on the central city of Nuseirat. At least 94 Palestinians, including children, were killed in heavy fighting, the Hamas-run government media office said.

The rescued hostages — a woman and three men — were in good health and had been transferred to an Israeli hospital for further checks, the military said. They were identified as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27 and Shlomi Ziv, 40. 

“Noa, Almog, Andrei and Shlomi, how good to have you back with us,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant wrote on X. “In a heroic operational activity, our fighters managed to free four hostages from Hamas captivity and bring them home to Israel.” 

The forces acted “under heavy fire,” Gallant said, pledging to continue to fight for the return of the remaining hostages. Israel’s police and border guard said a member of its counterterrorism unit was killed.

Ismail Hanieh, a Hamas leader, issued a statement condemning the “massacres.” Videos of bloodied bodies at a nearby hospital were circulating on social media. 

Argamani was the hostage seen begging for help from the back of a motorcycle in a widely seen video from the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. Her mother is Chinese and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had appealed to the Chinese government to intervene on her behalf. 

All four were kidnapped from a music festival in southern Israel when thousands of Hamas operatives broke across the border, killing 1,200 and abducting 250 others. Saturday’s operation marked the first rescue of live hostages since February, when Israeli forces brought home two older men, while a November exchange freed more than 100.

It’s not clear how many of the remaining hostages are alive. They are thought to number in the dozens.

On Saturday, the four hostages had been rescued in raids on two different buildings in a residential neighborhood, military spokesman Daniel Hagari said. The operation had been in the planning for weeks and involved hundreds of soldiers and members of intelligence and police, backed by the Israeli air and naval forces, he added.

Israel has been waging a war against Hamas in Gaza for eight months and the death toll is more than 36,000, according to Hamas, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and fighters. The group is considered a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

Following the release of the four hostages, Benny Gantz, an opposition leader who joined Netanyahu’s war cabinet, said he would delay making a statement after he had previously threatened to leave the war cabinet on Saturday, easing pressure on Netanyahu at a critical moment for his coalition.

Thousands of Israeli beachgoers in Tel Aviv learned about the rescue in announcements from lifeguard stations, prompting spontaneous cheers and dancing.

With assistance from Galit Altstein.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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First Published:9 Jun 2024, 06:11 AM IST
HomeNewsworldIsraeli Forces Free Four Hostages After Central Gaza Attack

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