Hostages rescued!

 

In a “complex special daytime operation” four Israeli hostages were rescued alive today, including Noa Argamani, whose mother has stage 4 cancer. 


Noa’s abduction, as she was wrenched from her boyfriend by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 and ferried away on a motorcycle, became one of the disturbing iconic images that characterized the massacres and kidnappings that day.


Along with Noa (26), Israeli troops rescued Almog Meir Jan (21), Andrey Kozlov (27) and Shlomi Ziv (40) from a separate location near where Noa was being held. All four were kidnapped from the Nova music festival. Noa was apparently being held alone and in a separate location from the other three, but in the same area.


Today is the birthday of Noa’s father, Yaakov.


“Today is my birthday. See what a gift I received for my birthday!” he said at the hospital where he was reunited with his daughter.


One soldier was killed in the rescue, which took place today in Nuseirat in central Gaza (not near Rafah), according to a joint statement by Israeli security services. 

photos from the moment the helicopter with three of the rescued hostages landed in Israeli territory (IDF)
Photos of three hostages landing in Israel (IDF)

Before anyone in Israel knew of the operation, Palestinians had reported a huge and “unusual” military operation by Israel with Apache helicopters and special forces flooding the area near the market in Nuseirat this morning. 

 

According to Abu Ali Express, one Palestinian complained on social media that Hamas dared to keep hostages in a dense neighborhood, a place where the risk of civilian casualties is much higher.


Hamas had recently published a psychological warfare video of Noa who was forced to announce the deaths of two other hostages while warning that time is running out and pleading “save us” in the video. It was only the second sign of life of Noa herself, but contained tragic news for other families. 


More than 250 people including foreigners were kidnapped—some already dead—and more than 1,200 were killed on Oct. 7. Many of the hostages who were kidnapped alive have been killed in captivity.


The special forces soldier killed in the rescue op is Arnon Zmora, an officer in the National Counter-Terrorism Unit. The operation was approved on Thursday night, Israeli officials said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited all of the hostages after their return, said more such operations are being planned.


After news of the rescue was announced Israelis celebrated throughout the country. A lifeguard in Tel Aviv announced the rescue from the loudspeaker at the beach evoking cheers from beachgoers. 


The rescue is great news for the families of these four hostages, but let’s remember, there are many more – 120 to be exact – left: 

Here are short bios on the four rescued hostages provided by the 

Hostages Families Forum Headquarters 

Noa Argamani, a 26-year-old from Be’er Sheva, was kidnapped from the NOVA festival along with her boyfriend, Avinatan Or. Avinatan remains in Hamas captivity. Noa is a yoga and art enthusiast who enjoys hiking. She was studying Information Systems Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. 

 

 

Almog Meir Jan, a 22-year-old from Or Yehuda, was kidnapped from the NOVA festival. He was supposed to start a job at a large high-tech company the next day. Almog is a beloved son who connects with everyone through his wide, warm smile. He is always polite and helpful to all, cherished wherever he goes.

 

Shlomi Ziv, a 41-year-old from Moshav Elkosh, was kidnapped from the NOVA festival, where he worked as a security guard. Shlomi and his wife, Miren, have been living in the moshav for about 17 years. A family-oriented man, Shlomi is always the first to help and take action with a big heart, embodying the perfect description of a big brother.

 

Andrey Kozlov, a 27-year-old resident of Rishon LeZion, was kidnapped from the NOVA festival, where he was working as a security guard. Andrey is a recent immigrant to Israel, having made aliyah by himself, without his family, about a year and a half ago.

 

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