IDF rescues 4 Israeli hostages kidnapped from a music festival, held in Gaza

– They risked their lives to save the lives of our hostages. This is what we do in Israel'

The Israel Defense Forces, in cooperation with the Israel Security Agency and Israel Police, successfully extracted four Israeli hostages from Hamas captivity on Saturday. The military operation, which involved simultaneous attacks at two separate locations, secured the release of the prisoners who are now said to be in good medical condition.

The hostages – Noa Argamani, 25; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrei Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40 – were kidnapped on October 7 during the supernova music festival near Re'im, Israel, and held in the Nuseirat region of central Gaza.

The meticulously planned rescue mission by IDF forces early Saturday resulted in the safe retrieval of Argamani from one location and Meir Jan, Kozlov and Ziv from another, the IDF stated in. after on the social media platform X. After the rescue, all individuals were transported to the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center for extensive medical evaluations.

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That high-risk operation was carried out under heavy cover of airstrikes, which supported the ground forces targeting Hamas sites in the vicinity, The Times of Israel. said. The airstrikes and the ground operation resulted in a significant number of casualties among the Hamas ranks, according to IDF statements.

After the rescue, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke with Argamani, who was transported separately from the other hostages, The Wall Street Journal. reported. Netanyahu reportedly reassured her, saying, “Not for a moment have we given up on you,” while Herzog expressed his emotion during the call, stating, “It just brings tears to my eyes.”

Argamani, a university student, was abducted from the festival with her boyfriend, who remains trapped in Gaza. Her mother, originally from China and now battling terminal brain cancer, made heartfelt pleas to be reunited with her daughter.

In the military operation, Israel successfully freed more hostages than it had in all previous rescue efforts combined over the past eight months, bringing the total number of hostages freed by military action to seven, the Journal noted.

The newspaper added, however, that the operation disrupted ongoing ceasefire talks that would have freed the remaining 116 hostages and some Palestinian prisoners, but gave a major boost to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's standing amid political tensions and the expected resignation of his chief. rival, Benny Gantz.

“Israeli forces prepared for his rescue mission for weeks. They underwent intensive training. They risked their lives to save the lives of our hostages. This is what we do in Israel,” said Contradm. Daniel Hagari, chief spokesman of the Israeli army at a press conference. “When we are happy, and our four hostages are home, we will not lose sight of the fact that 120 hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza – men, women, children. We will not stop fighting for their freedom.”

Hagari acknowledged that the dense urban setting of the attack caused a high number of Palestinian casualties, reported by the Gaza Ministry of Health to include 210 deaths and more than 400 injuries.

Hagari, on the other hand, said that about 100 Palestinians were killed or injured, with some identified as militants.

The United States was involved indirectly in the rescue operation, providing intelligence and logistical support, although no American troops were reported on the ground.

In a joint press conference Saturday in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden affirmed continued US commitment to ensure a ceasefire and the safe release of all hostages.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar starting Monday.


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