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Israel rescues four hostages alive from Gaza after 246 days


The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday it had rescued four Israeli hostages during a complex day operation in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, after 246 days of captivity.

The hostages were named as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27 and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

The four are in “good medical condition” and have been taken to hospital for further medical examination, the army said.

The three men and a woman were abducted by the Palestinian terror organization Hamas from the Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7, the IDF said.

“We are overjoyed that you are back home,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, according to his office. He spoke of a ‘heroic operation’.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog spoke to Argamani by phone, according to the Haaretz newspaper, which published a photo of the young woman smiling on a couch in a hospital room.

The IDF, together with the Israeli Security Service and the anti-terrorism unit of the Yamam police, carried out the operation involving hundreds of troops on Saturday morning, the IDF said.

Palestinians report dozens of deaths in Israeli army attacks on the Nuseirat refugee camp and the city of Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip.

According to Gaza medics, fifty people were killed and dozens of others were injured. It was initially unclear whether the people were killed during the army operations to rescue the hostages.

It was also unclear whether the dead were civilians or Hamas militants.

According to the IDF, those kidnapped from Israel were rescued from two different locations in central Nuseirat.

The military had previously announced that it would attack terrorist infrastructure in the area.

For Israel, this is the first good news in weeks, as the country has come under heavy international pressure over its operations in the Gaza Strip.

Right-wing leader Netanyahu has also faced domestic political divisions over his handling of the war.

The Times of Israel reported that centrist War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, who was expected to resign in a speech on Saturday evening, canceled his speech after news of the hostages’ rescue emerged.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage.

There was a temporary ceasefire in November, during which Hamas released more than a hundred hostages in exchange for Israel’s release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

There are believed to be around 120 hostages from Israel still in Gaza, but it is unclear how many of them are still alive.

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