Israel Rescues Four Hostages in Gaza Operation

Israeli forces rescued four hostages held by Hamas since October in a raid in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, while at least 93 Palestinians were killed in airstrikes in the same area, in one of the bloodiest single incidents of the war, according to local medics.

It was not immediately clear if the hostage rescue and the Israeli air assault were part of the same operation but both took place in Al-Nuseirat, a densely built-up and often embattled area in the eight-month-old war between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas.

An Israeli military spokesman said the hostage rescue operation took place under fire in the heart of a residential neighborhood, where he said Hamas had been hiding captives among Gaza civilians under guard by armed militants.

Israeli forces returned fire, including with airstrikes, the spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, added. One Israeli special forces soldier was killed during the operation, a police statement said.

Israel named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40. They were taken to hospital for medical checks and were in good health, the military said.

They were all kidnapped from the Nova music festival during Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’s deadly raid on Israeli towns and villages near Gaza on Oct. 7, an attack which precipitated the devastating war in the besieged Hamas-run enclave.

Palestinian militants took around 250 hostages back to Gaza on Oct. 7. There are 116 now left in Gaza, according to Israeli tallies, including at least 40 whom Israeli authorities have declared dead.

Israeli News 12 broadcast footage of Argamani reunited with her father, smiling and embracing him. Video of Argamani’s kidnapping, showing her shouting “Don’t kill me!” as she was driven into Gaza on a motorbike, had circulated soon after she was taken on Oct. 7.

A smiling Argamani was shown speaking on Saturday by phone to Israeli president Isaac Herzog from hospital, where she was surrounded by family and friends, in footage released by the president’s office.

“Thank you for everything, thank you for this moment,” she said.

“I am so excited to hear your voice, it brings tears to my eyes … welcome home,” Herzog said.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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