Home News 4 Hamas hostages rescued in Gaza, at least 94 Palestinians killed

4 Hamas hostages rescued in Gaza, at least 94 Palestinians killed

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Saturday carried out its largest hostage rescue operation since the war with Hamas began, taking four to safety out of central Gaza as heavy fighting continued there.

At least 94 dead Palestinians, including children, were brought to local hospitals, health officials said.

Israelis were jubilant as the army said it rescued Noa Argamani, 25; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40, in a complex daytime operation in the heart of Nuseirat, raiding two locations at once and under fire. All were well, the military said.

They were taken by helicopter for medical checks and reunions with loved ones after 246 days in captivity.

Argamani had been one of the most widely recognized hostages after being abducted from a music festival in southern Israel. The video of her abduction was among the first to surface, with her between two men on a motorcycle as she screamed, “Don’t kill me!”

Her mother, Liora, has stage four brain cancer and in April released a video pleading to see her daughter before she dies.

An elated Argamani spoke by phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a message released by the government, Netanyahu asks how she’s feeling. She tells him she is “very excited,” saying she hasn’t heard Hebrew in so long.

Netanyahu in a statement said “Israel does not surrender to terrorism and acts with creativity and boldness that knows no bounds to bring home our abductees.” He vowed to continue the fighting until all are freed.

The operation was “daring in nature, planned brilliantly, and executed in an extraordinary fashion,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

The bodies of nearly 100 Palestinians killed were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital, where spokesperson Khalil Degran told The Associated Press more than 100 wounded also arrived. AP reporters also saw dozens of bodies brought to the hospital from the Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah areas, as smoke rose in the distance and armored vehicles rolled by.

A baby was among the dead. Small children wailed, covered in blood. Bodies were placed on the ground outside, their feet bare, as more wounded were rushed in.

Israel’s military said it had attacked “threats to our forces in the area.” The military said one commando died from his wounds.

Hamas took some 250 hostages during the Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people. Roughly half were released in a weeklong cease-fire in November. About 120 hostages remain, with 43 pronounced dead. Survivors include about 15 women, two children under the age of 5 and two men in their 80s.

Saturday’s hostage recovery operation brings the total of rescued captives to seven. Two men were rescued in February and a woman was rescued in the aftermath of the October attack. Israeli troops have recovered at least 16 bodies of hostages, according to the government.


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