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Four Israeli hostages freed in raid in central Gaza

In World
June 08, 2024

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

Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrei Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, were freed during a “high-risk, complex mission” from two separate buildings in the Nuseirat area, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said the four are in good medical condition and have been transferred to the ‘Sheba’ Tel-HaShomer Medical Center for further medical examinations – where they have been pictured embracing family members waiting at the facility.

Dozens of people, including children, have been killed and injured in the area where the operation took place, with images and footage showing significant numbers of casualties.

Staff at the Al-Aqsa hospital are said to be struggling to treat the casualties.

“Dozens of injured people are lying on the ground and medical teams are trying to save them with the simple medical capabilities they have,” the ministry said on Facebook.

‘Precise intelligence’

The rare rescue of hostages – a joint operation conducted by the IDF, Israel Security Agency and Israel Police – comes eight months into war with Hamas in Gaza.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said the mission was based on “precise” intelligence and that Israeli forces came under fire during the operation.

In a televised news conference, Mr Hagari said one Israeli soldier had been badly hurt.

Almog Meir Jan, a released hostage reacts, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip

Almog Meir Jan, a released hostage reacts, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip [Reuters]

Miss Argamani, a Chinese-born Israeli citizen, was kidnapped from the Nova festival and harrowing video footage from 7 October showed the 25-year-old being taken away on the back of a motorbike screaming, “Don’t kill me!”

Fresh video of her being reunited with her father, smiling and embracing him on board a vehicle, was broadcast soon after news of the rescue operation on Saturday.

Mr Kozlov, a Russian who moved to Israel in 2022, had been working as a security guard at the festival when he was kidnapped.

Mr Jan tried to flee the festival. He and a friend made it to the friend’s car but only managed to drive a short distance before being forced to stop.

Mr Ziv was part of the security detail at the festival and was initially in contact with his sisters as the attack unfolded, according to an interview with The Times of Israel.

Andrey Kozlov, a released hostage reacts, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip

Andrey Kozlov is a Russian-Israeli who worked in security at the music festival from where he was kidnapped on 7 October [Getty Images]

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters, a group representing the families of the hostages, described the rescue of the four hostages as “a miraculous triumph,” and thanked the IDF for the “heroic operation”.

The group added: “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.”

In response to the military offensive in Nuseirat, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Israel could not force its choices on the group.

He said the group would not agree a ceasefire deal unless it achieved security for Palestinians.

During its 7 October attacks in southern Israel Hamas killed about 1,200 people and took some 251 people.

Some 116 remain in the Palestinian territory, including 41 the army says are dead.

A deal agreed in November saw Hamas release 105 hostages in return for a week-long ceasefire and some 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

On Saturday, the Hamas-run health ministry said the death toll in Gaza is now 36,801 people.

Map showing central Gaza where the four hostages were released following an operation by Israel

[BBC]

Shlomi Ziv

Shlomi Ziv was part of the security detail at the festival [Reuters]

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