Israel rescues four hostages kidnapped in Hamas-led attack on October 7

8 June 2024, 14:14

Handout image of Noa Ar gamani
Hostage1. Picture: PA

The army said it had rescued Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv in an operation in Nuseirat.

Israel says it has rescued four hostages who were kidnapped in a Hamas-led attack on October 7, in the largest hostage recovery operation since the war with the militant group began in Gaza.

The army said it had rescued Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, in a daytime operation in two separate locations in the heart of Nuseirat.

Hamas kidnapped 250 hostages during its attack on southern Israel on October 7, which triggered the Israel-Hamas war. About half were released in a week-long ceasefire in November.

Family handout pic of Andrey Kozlov
Andrey Kozlov (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

Meanwhile, heavy fighting raged in central Gaza, where the hostages were rescued, and at least 55 people, including children, were killed in multiple attacks on Saturday as people fled for safety, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Israel says more than 130 hostages remain, with about a quarter of those believed dead, and divisions are deepening in the country over how to bring them home.

The rescue comes as international pressure mounts on Israel to limit civilian bloodshed in its war in Gaza, which reached its eighth month on Friday.

Seeking a breakthrough in the apparently stalled ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, US secretary of state Antony Blinken will return to the Middle East next week.

Handout pic of Almog Meir Jan
Almog Meir Jan (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

Israel’s offensive has killed at least 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its figures.

Saturday’s operation is the largest recovery of living hostages since the war erupted, bringing the total of rescued captives to seven.

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.

Israeli troops have so far recovered at least 16 bodies of hostages from Gaza, according to the government.

Family handout pic of Shlomi Ziv
Shlomi Ziv (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing growing pressure to end the fighting in Gaza, with many Israelis urging him to embrace a deal announced last month by US President Joe Biden, but far-right allies are threatening to collapse his government if he does.

Defence minister Yoav Gallant called Saturday’s rescue “a heroic operation” and said the army will fight until all hostages are returned.

Ms Argamani, has been one of the most widely recognised hostages since she was abducted from a music festival.

The video of her abduction was among the first to surface, with images of her horrified face widely shared as she was held between two men on a motorcycle.

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

Hamas killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped some 250 hostages during the October 7 attack, which triggered the Israel-Hamas war.

About half were released in a week-long ceasefire in November. Israel says more than 130 hostages remain, with about a quarter of those believed dead, and divisions are deepening in the country over the best way to bring them home.

By Press Association

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