Four hostages held at the Noah festival were freed in Gaza raids

video title, Freed Israeli hostage Noah Arkamani is reunited with his father

  • author, Alex Therrien
  • stock, BBC News
  • Report from London

Four hostages kidnapped by Hamas from the Noah music festival during the October 7 attacks have been rescued in a broad daylight raid in central Gaza.

Noah Arkamani, 26, Almok Meir Jan, 22, Andriy Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were freed from two separate buildings in the Nusirat area during a “high-risk, complex operation,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said the four were in good condition and had been transferred to the ‘Sheba’ Tel-Hashomer Medical Center, where they were pictured awaiting treatment by family members.

Dozens of people, including children, were killed and injured in the area where the operation took place, with images and footage showing a significant number of casualties.

Staff at Al-Aqsa Hospital are reportedly struggling to treat the injured.

The rare rescue of the hostages – a joint operation by the IDF, Israel Defense Agency and Israel Police – comes eight months into the war with Hamas in Gaza.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said the operation was based on “precise” intelligence and that Israeli forces opened fire during the operation.

A special forces officer has died in hospital after being injured during a Gaza hostage rescue, Israeli police said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israeli forces for acting “creatively and bravely”.

“We will not let go until we complete the mission and return home all the hostages – both alive and dead,” he added.

image caption, Freed hostage Almok Meir Jan reacts after the army says Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip.

Miss Arkamani, a Chinese-born Israeli citizen, was abducted from the Noah Festival and since October 7 the 26-year-old shouted “Don’t kill me!” It showed him being taken behind a motorcycle while shouting.

After news of the rescue operation on Saturday, a new video surfaced showing her reunited with her father, smiling and embracing him in the vehicle.

Mr Kozlov, a Russian who immigrated to Israel in 2022, and Mr Ziv were both working as security guards at the festival when they were abducted.

Mr John was due to start a job at a large technology company the day after he was kidnapped.

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Andrey Kozlov is a Russian-Israeli who worked security at the music festival that was hijacked on October 7.

The headquarters of the Hostage Families Forum, a group representing the hostages’ families, described the rescue as “a miraculous victory” and thanked the IDF for its “heroic action”.

The group added: “The Israeli government must remember its commitment to bring back all the 120 hostages still held by Hamas – those living for rehabilitation, those killed for burial -.”

The rescue comes amid a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and efforts to secure the release of hostages.

Mr Netanyahu has been urged to reach a deal, but faces opposition from far-right allies who say military action is the only way to bring back the hostages.

Saturday’s operation was the most successful rescue of hostages by the Israeli military in the war – and could change the calculus of an under-pressure prime minister.

image caption, The Hamas-run health ministry said dozens of people, including children, had been killed and wounded in central Gaza

In response to the Nusirat military offensive, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said Israel cannot impose its choices on the group.

He said the group would not agree to a cease-fire agreement unless security was achieved for the Palestinians.

An October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel killed around 1,200 people and captured 251 others.

About 116 people are in the Palestinian territories, including 41 dead, the army says.

A deal agreed in November saw Hamas release 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for a week-long ceasefire.

On Saturday, the Hamas-run health ministry said the death toll in Gaza now stood at 36,801.

image caption, Shlomi Ziv was part of the security guard at the ceremony
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