Israeli Forces Rescue Four Hostages from Hamas in Daylight Raid

Israeli Forces Rescue Four Hostages from Hamas in Daylight Raid

Gaza - Four hostages kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival during the October 7 attacks have been rescued in a daring daylight raid deep in central Gaza.

Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrei Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were freed during a "high-risk, complex mission" in the Nuseirat area, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported. The four hostages are in good medical condition and have been transferred to the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center, where they reunited with their families.

The rescue operation resulted in significant casualties, with dozens killed and injured in the area. Al-Aqsa hospital staff are reportedly overwhelmed by the number of casualties.

This rare and successful rescue, a joint effort by the IDF, Israel Security Agency, and Israel Police, comes eight months into the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari emphasized that the mission was based on precise intelligence and noted that Israeli forces encountered heavy fire during the operation. One special forces officer was wounded and later died in the hospital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the forces for their bravery and creativity. He reaffirmed Israel's commitment to bringing back all hostages, both alive and deceased. Noa Argamani, a Chinese-born Israeli citizen, was dramatically shown in a video being taken away on a motorbike during the festival. New footage of her reuniting with her father has been broadcast, highlighting the emotional aftermath of the rescue.

Andrei Kozlov, a Russian who moved to Israel in 2022, and Shlomi Ziv were both security guards at the festival, while Almog Meir Jan was set to start a new job in tech the day after he was kidnapped. The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters, representing the families, hailed the rescue as "a miraculous triumph" and called on the Israeli government to continue efforts to bring back the remaining 120 hostages held by Hamas.

This rescue mission coincides with ongoing discussions for a ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu faces pressure to reach an agreement but also opposition from far-right allies who advocate for continued military action.

Saturday’s operation marks the most successful rescue of hostages by the Israeli military in this conflict and could influence Netanyahu's strategy moving forward. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh responded to the military action, stating that Israel cannot impose its will on the group and emphasizing that any ceasefire deal must ensure Palestinian security.

During the October 7 attacks, Hamas killed approximately 1,200 people and took about 251 hostages, with 116 still in Palestinian territory, including 41 presumed dead. A previous deal in November saw Hamas release 105 hostages in exchange for a week-long ceasefire and the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

The Hamas-run health ministry reports that the death toll in Gaza has reached 36,801 people amid the ongoing conflict.

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