Four hostages freed in Gaza as air assault leaves more than 200 people dead

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun10,2024
Israelis celebrated the release of four hostages from Gaza in a military operation, cheering on beaches and gathering outside the hospital where the former captives underwent medical checks.
Footage widely shared on social media showed beachgoers in Israel’s coastal commercial hub of Tel Aviv erupting into cheers after a lifeguard announced the release of the four hostages over a loudspeaker.
Hilla Israeli, a 39-year-old teacher, said she was relaxing by the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel when she heard the news.

“In an instant everyone started pulling their phones, people came out of the water, shouts of joy came from different directions,” she said.

“I cried so much from excitement — I couldn’t stop the tears.”
Uriya Bekenstein, 42, said it was “a very emotional day”.

“We have had these hostages in our thoughts for every day for the better part of a year now — to have even a few of them rescued against all odds, it means the world.”

Israeli military gives details of the rescue mission that left hundreds dead

The hostage rescue operation and an intense accompanying air assault took place in central Gaza’s al-Nuseirat, a densely built-up and often embattled area in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

An Israeli military spokesperson said the operation took place in the heart of a residential neighbourhood in Nuseirat where Hamas had kept the hostages in two separate apartment blocks.

Israel’s forces came under intense fire during the assault and responded by firing “from the air and from the street”, the spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said.
“We know about under 100 (Palestinian) casualties. I don’t know how many from them are terrorists,” he said. An Israeli special forces commander was killed during the operation, a police statement said.
Gazan paramedics and residents said the assault killed scores of people and left mangled bodies of men, women and children strewn around a marketplace and a mosque.
The government media office in Gaza said later the death toll had risen to at least 210 Palestinians with many more wounded, after medics and health officials gave earlier tolls of up to 100 dead.

On Sunday, the Palestinian death toll was raised to 274, which represents the highest number of people killed over a 24-hour period of the Gaza war for months.

An injured person on a stretcher getting transported from a helicopter by people.

An injured person is evacuated from an Israeli air force helicopter landing in the grounds of Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre. Source: AFP / Gideon Markowicz

Social media footage showed bodies spilling entrails onto blood-stained streets.

“It was like a horror movie but this was a real massacre. Israeli drones and warplanes fired all night randomly at people’s houses and at people who tried to flee the area,” said Ziad, 45, a paramedic and resident of Nuseirat, who gave only his first name.
The bombardment focused on a local marketplace and the al-Awda mosque, he told Reuters via a messaging app. “To free four people, Israel killed dozens of innocent civilians,” he said.

Emergency response teams sought to ferry the dead and wounded to hospital in the nearby city of Deir al-Balah but many bodies were still lying in the streets, including around the market district, Ziad and other residents said.

Who are the four Israeli hostages freed from Gaza

The military named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, all of whom were abducted from the Nova music festival on 7 October.

People celebrate outside Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre where four Israeli hostages were transferred after being rescued from captivity. Source: AFP / Jack Guez

Dozens were released during a , and before Saturday only three other captives were freed in Israeli military raids.

There are now , including 41 the army says are dead.

Celebrations amid calls for a ceasefire

Outside the Sheba Medical Center in an eastern suburb of Tel Aviv where the four were treated, a group of people raised Israeli flags in celebration of their release.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met the four inside the hospital, images shared by his office showed.
Argamani’s father Yaakov, whose birthday it was on Saturday, said: “Such a gift, I never believed I would receive.”
Images of Argamani on a motorbike , crying “Don’t kill me!” as she was held by Hamas militants made headlines around the world.
A woman's photo on a poster

Following her rescue, Argamani went to the hospital where her mother has been undergoing treatments for brain cancer. Source: AFP / Gil Cohen

After her release on Saturday she went to the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv where her mother has been undergoing treatments for brain cancer.

Argamani’s mother Liora had said in a widely shared video that she feared she would not have the chance to see her daughter again.
Meir Jan’s uncle Aviram Meir in a statement urged the government to reach a hostage release agreement with Hamas.
“We want all the other hostages to come back with the deal,” he said.
Patients lined the halls hoping to catch a glimpse of Argamani.

“For eight months now, we have only been receiving stabs in the heart,” said patient Shlomo Akad, 72.

“There’s no denying that she was the symbol of the horror and fear for those who were there, for those who experienced it,” he said.
“And now suddenly, for the first time it’s a burst of joy after she was rescued.”
The resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people in Israel, mostly civilians.
Israel’s on Gaza have killed 36,801 people, also mostly civilians.
Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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