Middle east

A “Complex Operation”: How Israel rescued four hostages from central Gaza

The Israeli army announced on Saturday that it had rescued and freed four hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, in the Nuseirat area in the central Gaza Strip.

The army stated that the liberated hostages were “Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir (21), Shlomi Zeiv (40), and Andrey Kozlov (27),” in an operation carried out by the Israeli army forces.

The army indicated that they were rescued in a “complex operation conducted by the Israeli army, Shin Bet, and the Israeli police, operating in the heart of Nuseirat, in central Gaza.”

The hostages were transferred to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer, where their health condition was deemed normal.

Videos circulated showing the transfer of the hostages via the Gaza seaport.

Details of the Operation

The Israeli army spokesperson said that the Chief of Staff and the head of Shin Bet supervised the operation to free the four hostages.

He added that one of the participants in the rescue operation was seriously injured.

According to the army spokesperson, “The operation to free the four hostages was executed based on intelligence information, and the operation had been in planning for weeks.”

Israeli reports stated that a joint force from the army and Shin Bet, along with Israeli special forces, extracted the four hostages from two different sites in Nuseirat.

The Israeli army conducted extensive aerial bombings in coordination with the movement of the joint force from Shin Bet and the special police unit, who extracted the hostages from two sites after violent clashes with Palestinian militants.

The Israeli army stated in a communiqué: “In a combined operation by the Israeli army, Shin Bet, and the special police unit, four Israeli hostages were freed this morning. They had been abducted by Hamas during the Nova Festival on October 7.”

Two Separate Areas

The army added: “The hostages were freed by members of Shin Bet and the special police unit from two separate areas in the heart of Nuseirat.”

Israeli sources indicated that Noa Argamani was held separately from Andrey, Almog, and Shlomi.

Channel 12 Israeli reported that “as part of the rescue operation, the Israeli army carried out exceptional strikes on militant infrastructure.”

“In recent weeks, intelligence was gathered enabling the military operation in Nuseirat to save the hostages,” added the channel.

“At 11 a.m., the order was given and the forces stormed the buildings where the hostages were held in a complex operation. The forces secured and rescued the hostages safely into Israeli territory.”

Reactions and Consequences

Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke with Noa Argamani upon her arrival at the hospital. He told her: “I embrace you on behalf of all the people of Israel. You are an extraordinary person. I am very moved and hope that your mother will see you soon.”

Noa responded: “I am very happy to be here. Thank you for this moment.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “Noa, Almog, Andrey, and Shlomi, it is wonderful that you are with us. In a heroic operation, our soldiers managed to free four hostages from Hamas‘ grip and bring them home to Israel.”

Gallant added: “The security forces will continue to fight until our 120 hostages are freed, and we will work to release them at every opportunity.”

Palestinian Reactions

On the Palestinian side, it was reported that dozens of civilians, mostly women and children, were killed, and many others injured, in the intense Israeli bombings, by air, land, and sea, on the Nuseirat camp.

Witnesses described the attack as “unprecedented,” saying that Israeli drones fired indiscriminately at civilians in several streets of the Nuseirat camp.

Palestinian medical sources reported that at least 40 people, including children and women, were killed and dozens injured due to the bombings on the Nuseirat camp and the surrounding areas of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, as well as the camps of Maghazi, Zawaida, and Bureij.

Gantz’s Retraction

As a result of these events, the Minister of War and head of the National Unity Party, Benny Gantz, postponed the announcement of his withdrawal from the government coalition that he was supposed to make tonight.

Gantz stated: “Our hearts are filled with joy with the return of Noa, Andrey, Almog, and Shlomi. I commend the soldiers of the Israeli army, special forces, and Shin Bet for this complex and courageous operation, carefully planned and executed in an inspiring manner. My heart is with all the families of the hostages, and we are determined to do everything we can to bring them home.”

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