AFP8 June 2024 | 12:56

Israel army says rescued 4 Israeli hostages alive in Gaza

Israeli army spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the operation took place in two separate buildings 'in the heart of a civilian neighbourhood'.

Israel army says rescued 4 Israeli hostages alive in Gaza

An injured person is evacuated from an Israeli air force helicopter landing in the grounds of Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre in Ramat Gan on 8 June, 2024, following an operation to rescue four Israeli hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip since the 7 October attacks amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. Picture: GIDEON MARKOWICZ / AFP

JERUSALEM - The Israeli military said its troops had rescued on Saturday four Israeli hostages alive from Gaza after a "complex daytime operation".

The army named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41.

All four were kidnapped by Hamas militants from the Nova music festival on 7 October, the military said in a statement, adding the four had been taken to hospital and were in "good medical condition".

Footage posted on social media by Israeli authorities showed Argamani in an emotional reunion with her father after her rescue.

Argamani was also seen smiling and speaking on the phone with President Isaac Herzog in footage aired on Israeli television.

Israeli army spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the operation took place in two separate buildings "in the heart of a civilian neighbourhood".

"While under fire inside the buildings, under fire on the way out from Gaza, our forces rescued our hostages," Hagari said in a televised statement.

An Israeli soldier was "critically wounded" in the operation, which took place around 11:00 am (0800 GMT), he added.

"The message this morning to Hamas is clear: we are determined to bring back home all the hostages."

The rare rescue comes eight months into the war with Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on X: "Noa, Almog, Andrey and Shlomi - we are overjoyed to have you home."

During their 7 October attack on southern Israel, militants took 251 hostages, 116 of whom now remain in the Palestinian territory, including 41 the army says are dead.

The 7 October attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory bombardments and ground offensive on Gaza have killed 36,801 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


Earlier on Saturday, the military said in a separate statement that forces were "targeting terrorist infrastructure in the area of Nuseirat".

A Gaza hospital said Israeli strikes in central areas of the territory, including in Nuseirat camp, killed at least 15 people on Saturday.

"Intense Israeli air strikes in central governorate left at least 15 martyrs and tens wounded who have been brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital," the spokesperson for the facility, doctor Khalil al-Dakran, told AFP.

Dakran said the casualties had come from in and around Nuseirat camp as well as Deir al-Balah, where the hospital is located.

Hamas said in a separate statement: "There are dozens of bodies of martyrs and wounded lying on the ground, in the streets, and in safe rooms."

The group added that Israeli forces were engaged in a "brutal and savage aggression on Nuseirat camp".

AFPTV video showed thick plumes of smoke billowing into the sky from several buildings in Nuseirat.

Other footage posted online showed Kozlov and Meir Jan arriving in Israel and beachgoers erupting into cheers in Tel Aviv after a lifeguard announced the four had been rescued.

In recent weeks the military has carried out intense air and ground assaults in and around Nuseirat.

On Thursday, the military struck a school-turned-shelter run by the UN agency for supporting Palestinian refugees, also known as UNRWA, which the Al-Aqsa hospital said had killed 37 people.

The Israeli military acknowledged it conducted the strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp that targeted the UN school, saying it killed 17 "terrorists" there.

In February, another rescue mission freed two hostages, but the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said heavy air strikes that accompanied that mission killed around 100 people in Rafah, southern Gaza.