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18 July, 2024
 
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Four hostages rescued in daring IDF operation

Successful mission marks rare victory amid ongoing conflict

Source: BBC

Israeli forces have successfully rescued four hostages, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrei Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv, who were kidnapped by Hamas during the Nova music festival attack in October. The daring daytime operation, conducted in collaboration with the Israel Security Agency and Israel Police, took place in Nuseirat, central Gaza, where the hostages were held at two separate locations. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the rescued individuals, ranging from 21 to 40 years old, were found to be in good medical condition and were promptly transferred to the 'Sheba' Tel-HaShomer Medical Center for further examinations.

The operation's success marks a rare victory in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has persisted for eight months. During the October attack, militants took 251 hostages, with 116 remaining in Palestinian territory, including 41 who the army believes to be deceased. A previous ceasefire agreement in November led to the release of 105 hostages by Hamas in exchange for a temporary cessation of hostilities and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Among the rescued hostages is Noa Argamani, a Chinese-born Israeli citizen who was also abducted from the festival. Heart-wrenching video footage, verified by her father, Yaakov Argamani, shows her being taken away on a motorcycle while pleading for her life. However, the joy of her reunion with her father was broadcast shortly after news of the rescue operation broke, showing the pair embracing and smiling aboard a vehicle.

Andrei Kozlov, a Russian immigrant to Israel, had been employed as a security guard at the festival, while Almog Meir Jan attempted to flee the event but was unable to evade capture. Shlomi Ziv, part of the festival's security detail, had maintained contact with his sisters as the attack unfolded.

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters, representing the hostages' families, hailed the rescue as a "miraculous triumph" and commended the IDF for their bravery. However, they urged the Israeli government to remain committed to securing the release of the 120 hostages still held by Hamas, emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation for the living and proper burial for those deceased.

In response to the military operation in Nuseirat, Hamas's political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, reiterated the group's demand for security guarantees for Palestinians before agreeing to any ceasefire. He emphasized that Israel could not impose its terms on Hamas, underscoring the complex dynamics at play in the conflict.

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Cyprus  |  Israel  |  hostages

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