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Israeli forces rescue four hostages from Gaza

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During a “complex” IDF/Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) daytime operation in the heart of a crowded residential neighborhood, the forces recovered from Hamas captivity Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

Noa Argamani being taken into captivity, Oct. 7, 2023. Source: Screenshot

A fighter from the Border Police’s Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit was badly wounded during the rescue operation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a recording of a phone conversation between him and Argamani.

“How do you feel?” asked the premier.

“I’m very excited,” replied Argamani. “I haven’t spoken Hebrew in such a long time.”

Added Netanyahu: “We did not give up on you for even one moment. I don’t know if you believed it, but we did and I’m happy that it’s become a reality.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he was “overjoyed” to have the hostages home, adding that the military would “keep fighting” until every captive is returned.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said, “Noa, Shlomi, Almog and Andrey: We waited for you, and we are still waiting for everyone. Everyone.”

He expressed appreciation to the security forces for the “bold and brave” operation, calling it “a great light in the terrible darkness.”

Israeli authorities also released footage of Argamani, who has become one of the most recognizable Israeli hostages, reuniting with her father after eight months in Hamas captivity.

Argamani’s mother, Liora, is hospitalized at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Ichilov Hospital with terminal brain cancer. Medical authorities were discussing whether Noa should be reunited with her mother at Ichilov Hospital, or alternatively, Liora was strong enough to visit Noa at Sheba Medical Center.

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum released a statement praising the “heroic operation” to recover the four captives, describing the development as a “miraculous triumph.”

“Now, with the joy that is washing over Israel, the Israeli government must remember its commitment to bring back all 120 hostages still held by Hamas—the living for rehabilitation, the murdered for burial,” said the forum.

“We continue to call upon the international community to apply the necessary pressure on Hamas to accept the proposed deal and release the other 120 hostages held in captivity; every day there is a day too much,” it added.

Shortly after the news broke, footage of a lifeguard in Tel Aviv sharing the development amid rapturous applause from bathers went viral.

On Monday, the IDF announced that four Israeli men who were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 died in captivity in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

“IDF officials informed the families of Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell, who were brutally abducted to the Gaza Strip, that they are no longer alive and their bodies are being held by the Hamas terrorist organization,” the military said.

Earlier Monday, the IDF announced that the corpse of Dolev Yehud, an Israeli paramedic murdered by Hamas terrorists during the assault on Kibbutz Nir Oz, had been located inside the kibbutz grounds.

Also in May, Lior Rudaeff was declared dead exactly seven months after he was presumed to have been abducted by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 massacre.

Days earlier, two more Israeli victims were declared dead—Elyakim Libman, 23, a security guard at the Supernova music festival presumed to have been taken hostage but whose body was found in Israeli territory, and Dror Or, 49, who was kidnapped to Gaza from Kibbutz Be’eri.

In February, Israeli forces freed hostages Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Norberto Louis Har, 70, during an overnight raid in Rafah. The pair were kidnapped to Gaza while visiting Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on Oct. 7.

In November, Pvt. Ori Megidish was freed by Israeli forces during a raid in the Gaza Strip after being kidnapped from the IDF’s Nahal Oz Base on Oct. 7.

 

 

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