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Israeli operation rescues 4 hostages from Gaza, including Noa Argamani

A commander of the operation was killed in battle

Israeli forces rescued four hostages held since Oct. 7 in the central Gaza Strip, including Noa Argamani, the festival goer who was filmed as she was carried away by terrorists on a motorcycle.

In addition to Argamani, 26, the army said in a statement that Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were rescued Saturday in the raid. All four were attending the Nova music festival on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists killed 1,200 people and abducted more than 250, launching the war.

The army said Special Forces carried out the operation in Nuseirat in the center of the enclave. Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, a commander of the operation, was killed in the battle.

Hamas said “dozens” of Palestinians were killed in the operation. It did not report what proportion were civilians and what proportion were combatants.

Argamani appeared in video posted on various sites after the attack screaming as terrorists spirited her away on a motorcycle.

Photos of Argamani enjoying herself at vacation spots before her abduction featured prominently on posters and flyers and social media advocating for the release of the hostages.

She became a symbol of the carnage, especially the 364 people the terrorists killed as they fled the music festival. The fate of her boyfriend, Avi Nathan, seen in the video being led away by terrorists, is not known.

Hamas released at least two videos of her in captivity since Oct. 7.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the releases hostages. Images of the hostages reuniting with family proliferated on Israeli media.

In a statement, Netanyahu congratulated the commanders of the operation. “The entire nation salutes you and the courageous fighters who today risked their lives in order to save lives,” he said. “Yet again you have proven that Israel does not surrender to terrorism and acts with boundless valor and resourcefulness to return home our hostages.”

The Biden administration also praised the action. “We commend the work of the Israeli security services that conducted this daring operation,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said in a statement.

The release came just hours before Benny Gantz, a member of the war Cabinet and rival to Netanyahu, was set to address the nation in what Israeli media said was likely to be his announcement that he was pulling out of the government, in part because Netanyahu has failed to end the war and release the hostages. Some 120 people remain captive.

This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

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