The Israeli army has rescued four of the hostages held by Hamas since the beginning of the conflict in a military operation in central Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces reported in a statement. The rescue has coincided with an Israeli bombing in Nuseirat, in an area where thousands of Palestinians take refuge, and in which at least 210 people have died and another 400 have been injured, medical sources inform the Reuters agency.

It is still unknown whether the bombing and the rescue were part of the same initiative. The Hamas Government in the Gaza Strip has reported that the number of deaths and injuries corresponds to the victims who have arrived at the Martyrs of Al Aqsa hospitals, in the nearby city of Deir al Balah, and the small Al Awda maternity hospital. , in Nuseirat.

“We condemn the aggression of the ‘Israeli’ occupation against civilians, children and women, and against safe homes in the Nuseirat camp and against the central governorate, and we hold the occupation and the US administration fully responsible for this catastrophic crime in which the The blood of dozens of innocent civilians was shed,” declared the Executive of the Palestinian militia.

The Government of Israel, for its part, announced this Sunday that the hostages have been freed “in a complicated joint daytime operation by the IDF, the International Security Academy and the Israel Police in Nuseirat. The four hostages, who had been held by Hamas for 246 days, are Noa Argamani, 25 years old; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40. All of them were kidnapped by Hamas during the celebration of the Nova festival on October 7.

According to information from the Israeli army, all of them are “in good health” and have been transferred to a hospital to undergo further medical examinations. “Once again, we have shown that Israel does not surrender to terrorism and acts with boundless creativity and courage to bring our kidnapped people home,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The rescue operation has been carried out in “two different places in the heart of Nuseirat”, an area where thousands of Palestinians displaced from the north of the Strip take refuge. The Gaza Ministry of Health has denounced a bombing in the same area that has killed at least 210 people and left more than 400 injured, shortly before the Israeli Government’s announcement, according to the international agency Reuters.

“The enormous number of martyrs and wounded confirms that we are facing a horrible massacre committed by the Israeli occupation in the occupied central area,” reads a statement from the Gaza authorities. Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip has already left more than 36,800 dead since it began on October 7 in response to Hamas attacks in Israeli territory.

The Gazan ministry states that the bodies of the victims and the dozens of wounded are being transported with great difficulty to the Al Aqsa hospital, one of the few that continues to operate in the Strip: “The ambulances and the emergency system cannot respond to all calls to transfer the wounded.”

Egypt, one of the main mediators between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, condemned this Saturday the Israeli attacks and denounced that they represent “a flagrant violation of all the provisions of international law”, as well as “of all the values ​​of humanity.” and human rights.” The Egyptian government has also called on the international community and the UN Security Council to “intervene immediately to stop the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip and to take responsible measures to end the humanitarian crisis.”

Nuseirat has been the target of serious airstrikes in recent weeks. On Thursday, at least 27 people were killed by another Israeli bombing of a UNRWA school in the area, where dozens of Palestinians were sheltering. “At this time, the Defense Forces are attacking terrorist infrastructure in the Nuseirat area,” the Israeli Army said early this morning.

Israel celebrates the release of the hostages

Daniel Hagari, head of the Israeli army, has announced the release of the hostages and has praised the work of the Israeli security forces. “It was a complex, high-risk mission, based on precise intelligence, carried out in daylight, in two separate buildings, in deep Gaza,” he detailed during a press conference. The Israeli commander has assured that the battalion sent to Nuseirat has been training for the mission for weeks. “This is what we do. When we say that we will do everything possible to bring our harassed people home, we mean it. “We will not stop the fight for their freedom.”

“Enormous joy and the heart bursts with happiness! We will continue together to bring them all back,” celebrated the Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, in a message distributed on his X profile. Videos of the reunions between some of the freed hostages and their families are already being shared on the social network. Close relatives. The news has been announced over public address systems in markets and beaches in Israel to the applause and cheers of the population.

The news is especially welcome because one of the freed hostages is Noa Argamani, whose voice and face have become internationally known. The video of her kidnapping at the hands of Hamas on October 7 went around the world. The Islamist militia separated her from her boyfriend, with whom she had attended the electronic music festival and whom they also captured, and forcibly took her away on a motorcycle. The Palestinian group has also used Argamani’s voice during these months of captivity to send update messages about the status of the hostages. Also in videos, part of a campaign to request a ceasefire in the enclave from the Israeli Government.

The young woman thanked the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, for her rescue, with whom she was able to speak by phone upon her arrival at the hospital in Israel.

On June 3, the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu announced the death of four other hostages in Gaza. Israeli authorities reported at the time that their bodies were still being held by Hamas and could not be recovered. The militia captured 250 people during its attack in southern Israel on October 7. About half were freed in November during a week-long ceasefire and the Israeli army has rescued seven since then.

Netanyahu has been facing growing international pressure for weeks to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas. The president of the United States, Joe Biden, is pushing to achieve an agreement between the two, and announced on May 31 that Israel had already presented a proposal for the release of hostages and the pause in hostilities through Qatari mediation. The families of the hostages plan to demonstrate in Israel this Saturday night to demand the agreement from the prime minister, who insists that military force is the best way to ensure the return of the hostages.

The Minister of Defense delays his resignation announcement after the rescue

The member of the Israeli Government’s war cabinet and Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, has decided to postpone the appearance in which he was expected to announce his resignation. Gantz announced last May that if Netanyahu did not present a post-war plan for Gaza, he would resign from his position in the Executive.

Gantz’s departure from the emergency government created after the Hamas attacks would have lost the support of his centrist partners in both the Executive and Parliament, in favor of the ultranationalist parties. These have also redoubled pressure on Netanyahu to prevent him from sealing a ceasefire agreement in Gaza.


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