Israel rescues four abducted citizens; 210 Palestinians killed in fresh assault : The Tribune India

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Israel rescues four abducted citizens; 210 Palestinians killed in fresh assault

Israel rescues four abducted citizens; 210 Palestinians killed in fresh assault

Almog Meir Jan, a rescued hostage, with his family members. Reuters

Jerusalem/Cairo, June 8

Israeli forces rescued four hostages held by Hamas since October in a raid in Gaza on Saturday while over 200 Palestinians were killed in airstrikes in the same area, according to Hamas officials, in one of the bloodiest Israeli assaults of the war.

Noa Argamani

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

Andrey Kozlov

Israeli forces returned fire, including with airstrikes, the spokesperson, 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 militant group Hamas’ 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.

Shlomi Ziv

Hamas’s raid killed some 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, and Israel’s subsequent bombardment and invasion of Gaza has killed at least 36,801 Palestinians, according to an updated tally by the enclave’s health ministry on Saturday.

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. A different picture unfolded back in Gaza, where Palestinian health ministry officials and local medics said that an Israeli military assault in Nuseirat had killed scores of people including women and children.

The Hamas-run government media office in Gaza said later the death toll had risen to at least 210 Palestinians with many more wounded, after medics and health officials gave earlier tolls of up to 100 dead.

There was no immediate confirmation of the highest figure from Gaza's health ministry. — Reuters

Biden welcomes rescue of hostages in Gaza

Paris: US President Joe Biden on Saturday welcomed the return of four Israeli hostages rescued alive in Gaza. The US president vowed, “We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is reached.” Reuters

Committed to freeing all hostages: Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “does not give into terrorism”. “We will not give up until we complete the mission and bring home all the hostages — both those alive and dead,” he said. Reuters

#Gaza #Hamas #Israel #Palestine

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