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Israeli forces rescue four hostages during raid in Gaza where officials say scores of Palestinians were killed

More on the four hostages rescued from Gaza

Four Israeli hostages were rescued from central Gaza today by Israeli forces. All of them were captured by Hamas during the Nova music festival on Oct. 7.

A four way photo split, from top left, clockwise, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Shlomi Ziv, and Andrey Kozlov.
From top left, clockwise, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Shlomi Ziv and Andrey Kozlov.Facebook; Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP file

Noa Argamani, 26, is from Be’er Sheva and became the face of the hostages after video of her capture showed her screaming as she was carried away on the back of a motorcycle in a roughly 10-second clip. Argamani was kidnapped along with her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who is believed to still be in Gaza. Argamani is « a yoga and art enthusiast who enjoys hiking » and was studying information systems management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, according to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

Almog Meir Jan from Or Yehuda was meant to start a new job at a tech company the day after he was captured, according to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. Jan « is a beloved son who connects with everyone through his wide, warm smile, » the organization said in a statement. The IDF said Jan is 21 years old while the Forum said he turned 22 in May.

Shlomi Ziv was working as a security guard at the Nova festival when he was taken hostage by Hamas. Ziv, who is from Moshav Elkosh, is described as a family-oriented man who « is always the first to help and take action, » the forum said. The IDF indicated that Ziv is 40 years old while the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said he is 41.

Andrey Kozlov, 27, was also working as a security guard at the music festival on Oct. 7 when Hamas captured him. Kozlov had recently moved to Israel from Russia a little over a year ago, according to the families forum. The Israeli Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, was in contact with Kozlov’s parents, an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said today.

Noa Argamani’s father rejoices in daughter’s rescue, calls for release of remaining hostages

Noa Argamani is embraced by her father, Yaakov
Noa Argamani is embraced by her father, Yaakov, on June 8.Israeli Prime Minister’s Office

The father of Noa Argamani, who became the face of the hostages taken on Oct. 7 after harrowing video of her abduction was seen around the world, expressed his intense gratitude to everyone involved in the rescue of his daughter.

“After 8 months of being apart from Noa, Noa has returned,” Yaakov Argamani said in a statement from the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters.

“I want to thank each and every one of you, the president, the prime minister, everyone, each and every person,” he said in the statement, which was released after the two were reunited at a local hospital. “Let us not forget that there are still 120 hostages; we must release them.”

“We must make every effort, in every way possible, to bring them here to Israel, to their families,” Argamani said. “Once again, thank you very much, thousands of thanks, to each and every one who had a hand in this matter.”

He also said that Noa was fine and “looks wonderful, looks excellent.” He said Saturday, the day she was rescued, was also his birthday.

“See what a gift I received for my birthday,” he said.

German chancellor reacts to news of hostage rescue

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said today the rescue of four hostages during an operation in Gaza was “an important sign of hope — especially for the many families in Israel who still fear for their loved ones.”

“Four hostages are now free. Hamas must finally release all hostages. The war must end,” Scholz said in a post on X.

National security advisor Jake Sullivan commends Israeli forces for rescuing hostages

In a statement, national security adviser Jake Sullivan commended Israeli security services for their rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza and said the U.S. “is supporting all efforts to secure the release” of the remaining hostages.

“This includes through ongoing negotiations or other means,” Sullivan said in the statement. “The hostage release and ceasefire deal that is now on the table would secure the release of all the remaining hostages together with security assurances for Israel and relief for the innocent civilians in Gaza.”

Sullivan said the deal is supported by the U.S. as well as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

“They all must be released — now,” Sullivan said of the hostages.

Hostages and Families Forum pays tribute to officer killed during rescue

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which advocates for the release of the hostages, has released a statement paying tribute to Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, who was killed during the hostage rescue operation in central Gaza today.

“The Families Forum bows its head in deep sorrow over the combat death of Commander Arnon Zamora, of blessed memory, who fell during the heroic rescue operation of Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, and Almog Meir Jan,” the statement read.

“The dedication and courage of our security forces are the values upon which the State of Israel was built; in their death, they have commanded us to live.”

Israeli Consulate in Russia is in contact with parents of rescued hostage

An Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said today that the Israeli Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, was in contact with the parents of Andrey Kozlov, one of the hostages who was rescued in Gaza.

Consul General Ran Gidor and Deputy Consul General Tal Shvartsman were assisting Kozlov’s parents, who were expected to land in Israel tomorrow morning to meet their son.

Biden: ‘We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a cease-fire is reached’

President Joe Biden welcomed the rescue of four hostages from Gaza today while addressing a crowd during a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Speaking first, Macron welcomed “the liberation” of the four hostages by the Israeli army.

Biden echoed Macron’s sentiments, adding that his administration is adamant on freeing all the hostages and ending the war in Gaza.

“We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a cease-fire is reached,” Biden said. “That is essential to happen.”

At least 200 Palestinians killed in Israeli assault, officials say

Reuters and NBC News

At least 200 Palestinians were killed in airstrikes in Nuseirat camp, in one of the bloodiest single incidents of the war, according to Gaza’s Government Media Office.

The more than 400 wounded arrived at two hospitals, Al-Awda Hospital in Nuseirat, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, according to the GMO.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, one of the only hospitals still functioning in Gaza, has been operating via one power generator and could go out of service while dozens of injured were still on the streets, a spokesperson from the health ministry said in front of the hospital.

“We don’t know how many of these people killed were militants and how many were civilians,” said NBC News’ Raf Sanchez.

Israeli special forces officer killed during hostage rescue operation in central Gaza

An Israeli special forces officer was killed during the hostage rescue operation in central Gaza today, according to Israeli police.

The officer was identified as “Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, commander and tactical operator in the Yamam,” Israel’s national counterterrorism branch of the military.

Zamora was taken to the hospital in critical condition before he died.

“The Israel Police will stand by the bereaved family and accompany them through this challenging time,” police said in a statement.

Israel minister of defense praises ‘heroic’ rescue operation 

Israel’s minister of defense praised the military operation that led to the rescue of four hostages in Gaza on Saturday.

“This is one of the most heroic and extraordinary operations I have witnessed over the course of 47 years serving in Israel’s defense establishment,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Saturday.

Gallant said the Israeli troops “showed so much courage — operating under heavy fire” during the daytime raid in Gaza.

“I do not remember having completed operations of this kind — at this intensity and with this level of cooperation and success,” he said.

How Noa Argamani became the face of the Nova music festival hostages

Noa Argamani’s kidnapping was caught on video and seen around the world.

The data science engineering student was seen screaming, terror etched on her face, as she was carried away on the back of a motorcycle, in a roughly 10-second clip that became a symbol of Israel’s hostage crisis.

Now free, a new video is circulating on social media showing Argamani as she reunited with her father. She also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone conversation following her rescue. “I’m very excited,” she said. “I haven’t spoken Hebrew in such a long time.”

For her loved ones, efforts to free her felt like a race against time, as her mother, Liora, has terminal brain cancer. Argamani turned 26 while in captivity. Her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, is believed to remain in Gaza.

Read more about Noa Argamani’s kidnapping.

Rescued hostages arrive by helicopter

Almog Meir Jan, 21, and Andrey Kozlov, 27, arrive by helicopter to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, today, after being rescued in a daytime raid by Israeli military.

Almog Meir Jan.Tomer Appelbaum / AP
Andrey Kozlov.Tomer Appelbaum / AP

The hostages rescued in the Israeli raid in Gaza include three male hostages who were abducted from the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 and held together in a separate location from Noa Argamani.

Israeli military rescues four hostages alive from Gaza, including Noa Argamani

Israeli security forces rescued four hostages during a daytime raid in central Gaza on Saturday, including Noa Argamani, 26, who became the face of the hostages taken on Oct. 7 after harrowing video of her abduction was seen around the world.

The hostages have been transferred to the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center near Tel Aviv, where authorities say they are in “good medical condition.”

The rescued hostages are Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, according to a statement issued by the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Securities Authority and the Israel Police.

They were among those kidnapped by Hamas during the Nova music festival on Oct. 7.

Read more.

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