Four Israeli Hostages Rescued from Gaza

Almog Meir Jan, a rescued hostage embraces his mother, Orit Meir, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip.(Israeli Army via Reuters)

Noa Argamani embraced her father tightly, overwhelmed with emotion upon seeing him for the first time since her abduction on October 7, 2023.

She was among four hostages taken by Hamas militants eight months ago and was rescued and reunited with her family in Israel on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) executed a rescue operation in al-Nuseirat, central Gaza, which involved an air assault and resulted in significant civilian casualties.

Israeli troops managed to rescue four hostages on Saturday, eight months after their abduction from a music festival.

According to Gazan authorities, at least 210 Palestinians were killed in the process. IDF Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari mentioned the casualties were “under 100.”

The rescued hostages included Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv. They were taken hostage by Hamas militants from the Nova music festival on October 7, 2023.

Andrey Kozlov was held hostage in Gaza for eight months.(Reuters/Marko Djurica)

“I’m so happy to be here,” Ms. Argamani expressed in videos released by the Israeli government after reuniting with her father at the hospital. “I’m very moved; I haven’t heard Hebrew for so long.”

The IDF reported that the hostages were rescued in a special operation from two locations in al-Nuseirat and are now in “good medical condition.”

They were held in two apartment buildings in a residential area of al-Nuseirat, the same location where an Israeli strike hit a UN school earlier that week, resulting in 40 casualties.

Rear Admiral Hagari stated that hundreds of Israeli troops participated in the “complex daytime operation,” which had been meticulously planned for weeks.

“Under fire both inside the buildings and on the way out from Gaza, our forces managed to rescue our hostages,” he said. “The message to Hamas is clear: we are determined to bring back home all the hostages.”

Unfortunately, one Israeli soldier lost his life during the operation.

Ahuva Maizel last communicated with her daughter early on a Saturday, in a brief phone call that has since led to an agonizing wait for the family, fearing the 21-year-old has been kidnapped by Hamas militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing mounting domestic pressure to secure the release of the remaining hostages, praised the forces for their “creative and brave” efforts.

“We will not relent until we complete the mission and return home all the hostages, both the living and the deceased,” Mr. Netanyahu asserted.

During a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden echoed support for the hostages’ return. “We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is achieved,” he stated.

Since the October 7 attacks, local health officials claim that nearly 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive. It’s important to note these numbers are posted by Hamas who have a track record of lying about statistics.

Israeli authorities reported that Hamas militants killed approximately 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages on October 7. Currently, 116 hostages are believed to still be in Gaza, with the Israeli army estimating that 41 of them are deceased.

Israeli television broadcasted footage of Ms. Argamani reuniting with her father. Her mother, Liora, who has stage 4 brain cancer, had previously released a video in April, pleading to see her daughter before she dies.

In a phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Ms. Argamani expressed her joy at being home. Ms. Argamani became one of the prominent faces of the kidnappings after a video of her being dragged into Gaza by gunmen went viral online following the October 7 attacks. She was taken along with her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who is believed to remain a hostage in Gaza.

Noa Argamani, a rescued hostage, speaks on the phone with Israeli President Isaac Herzog from a hospital in Israel. (Reuters: IDF)

Thousands attended the Nova music festival near the Israeli kibbutz Re’im when Hamas launched their attack on October 7. Over 360 people were killed. Social media footage showed festival-goers fleeing through fields and along roads as gunshots rang out.

Last month, the IDF recovered the bodies of six Israeli hostages from Gaza, some of whom had been at the music festival.

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum, an advocacy group for the families of the kidnapped, lauded the rescue as “heroic.” “With the widespread joy across Israel, the government must not forget its commitment to bring back all 120 hostages still held by Hamas — the living for rehabilitation, the deceased for proper burial,” the group stated online.

A crowd in Melbourne, Australia played music and sang traditional songs together in celebration.(ABC News)