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The Israeli hostage’s father died a day before his son’s rescue, a relative says

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The father of an Israeli hostage rescued during a military operation in Gaza died a day before he could be reunited with his son, a family member said.

Almog Meir Jan, 22, was held in Gaza for eight months after being kidnapped from the Nova music festival on October 7.

He was one of four hostages rescued from central Gaza on Saturday in an air and ground strike that also killed dozens of Palestinians.

In the months before Almog’s release, his father Yossi’s health deteriorated and he was “glued to the television,” his sister Dina told Israeli broadcaster Kan.

“He was concerned that he (Almog) was in the hands of killers and about what was happening to him and what he was going through,” Ms Jan said.

Yossi Jan is believed to have died of a heart attack.

“My brother died of grief and did not see his son return,” says Dina Jan.

The rescue of Almog Jan and three other hostages was met with cheers and relief in Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netyanhu praised the special forces for operating “creatively and courageously.”

But the humanitarian toll of the operation, which included a barrage of Israeli airstrikes, has drawn condemnation.

The Hamas-led Ministry of Health in Gaza said this 274 people were killed in the operation. If confirmed, this would be one of the deadliest days in Gaza since the conflict began.

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said the death toll was less than 100.

Qatar’s prime minister called on Sunday at a summit in Doha for intensifying global pressure on Israel to stop its “barbaric aggression” in Gaza.

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, condemned the killings as “a new massacre of civilians”.

An Israeli minister said that instead of condemning Hamas for hiding behind civilians, the EU had condemned Israel for saving its citizens.

Israeli forces, backed by airstrikes, fought intense firefights with Hamas in the Nuseirat area, in what the Israeli forces called a “risky, complex mission” based on “precise” intelligence.

Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv again on Saturday evening (Reuters)

In addition to Almog Meir Jan, hostages Noa Argamani, 26, Andrei Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were also rescued during the operation.

About 116 people kidnapped in October remain in captivity. More than a third of them have already been confirmed dead, but the number is believed to be higher.

Benjamin Netanyahu visited the four returning hostages in the hospital and told one of them: “We have not given up on you for a moment.”

“We expect Hamas to release them all. But if they don’t, we will do whatever it takes to get them all back home,” Netanyahu said outside the hospital.

On Sunday, the Hamas-led Health Ministry in Gaza said 37,084 people had been killed since the conflict began.

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