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Israel rescues four hostages from Gaza in ‘heroic operation’

Israel says it has rescued four hostages from Gaza.

They are in a good medical condition, Israeli authorities said, and are receiving medical checks at Sheba hospital, where they will spend the night.

The hostages, who were captured by Hamas from the Nova music festival in October, were named as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

Israeli forces rescued them “under fire” from two houses in “a complex mission in daylight,” which was “weeks in planning,” according to Daniel Hagari, the spokesman for the IDF (Israel Defence Forces).

He said the special operation involved hundreds of Israeli troops, and that one police officer was badly hurt.

Fifty-five Palestinians were killed during the attacks on Nuseirat, and other areas in central Gaza, a Gaza health official has told Reuters news agency.

In a joint statement, the IDF, ISA (Israel Securities Authority) and Israel Police said: “The hostages were rescued by the IDF, ISA and ‘Yamam’ forces from two separate locations in the heart of Nuseirat.

“They are in good medical condition and have been transferred to the ‘Sheba’ Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre for further medical examinations.

“The security forces will continue to make every effort to bring the hostages home.”

Pic: Reuters
Almog Meir Jan, a released hostage reacts, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, in Ramat Gan, Israel June 8, 2024. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Image:
Almog Meir Jan. Pic: Reuters

Pic: Reuters
Andrey Kozlov, a released hostage reacts, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, in Ramat Gan, Israel June 8, 2024. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Image:
Andrey Kozlov. Pic: Reuters

The recovery of the three men and one woman is the largest such recovery since the war with Hamas began on 7 October.

A video showing Noa Argamani being reunited with her father, smiling and hugging him and putting her head on his shoulder, was shown on Israeli News 12.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog both called her, with Mr Herzog telling her: “I am sending you an embrace from me and the entire nation of Israel… There is no one that doesn’t know your face and has been waiting for this moment”.

Pic: Reuters
Noa Argamani, a rescued hostage, speaks on the phone with Israeli President Isaac Herzog after the Israeli military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip, in Ramat Gan, Israel, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released on June 8, 2024. Israel Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
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Pic: Reuters

Video of Noa’s kidnapping was widely shared soon after she was taken by two men on a motorbike into Gaza on 7 October. Her mother Liora has stage four brain cancer and in April released a video pleading to see her daughter before she dies.

Her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who was kidnapped from the festival at the same time, remains in captivity.

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IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters – a volunteer-based organisation set up to help bring hostages home – called the recovery of the four hostages “a miraculous triumph,” and called on Israel’s government to bring home those still being held.

They said in a statement: “The heroic operation by the IDF that freed and brought home Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, and Almog Meir Jan is a miraculous triumph. Now, with the joy that is washing over Israel, the Israeli government must remember its commitment to bring back all 120 hostages still held by Hamas – the living for rehabilitation, the murdered for burial.

“We continue to call upon the international community to apply the necessary pressure on Hamas to accept the proposed deal and release the other 120 hostages held in captivity; every day there is a day too far.”

NOA ARGAMANI
Image:
Noa Argamani

ALMOG MEIR JAN
Image:
Almog Meir Jan

ANDREY KOZLOV
Image:
Andrey Kozlov

SHLOMI ZIV
Image:
Shlomi Ziv

Meanwhile, a Hamas official said Israel’s freeing of four hostages after nine months was “a sign of failure not an achievement,” according to Reuters.

Around 1,200 people were killed in southern Israeli communities during the 7 October Hamas attack and around 250 people were taken hostage.

More than 100 hostages were released during a week-long ceasefire in November in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Two men were rescued in February when troops stormed a heavily guarded apartment in a densely packed town, and a woman was rescued in the aftermath of October’s attack.

Pic: Reuters
A helicopter flies, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, in Ramat Gan, Israel June 8, 2024. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Image:
A helicopter arrives at Sheba hospital. Pic: Reuters


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One hundred and sixteen hostages are now believed to remain in the Palestinian enclave, according to Israeli tallies – at least 40 of whom have been declared dead in absentia by authorities.

The Israeli offensive in Gaza has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, and has resulted in a widespread humanitarian crisis in the territory.

Pressure has been mounting on Israel to limit the loss of civilian life in the war, which is now in its eighth month.

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