Israel Kills 215, Frees 4 Captives In Fresh Gaza Raid

Israel Kills 215, Frees 4 Captives In Fresh Gaza Raid


Israeli forces rescued four hostages held by Hamas since October in a raid in Gaza on Saturday that Palestinian officials said killed about 215 people, one of the single bloodiest Israeli assaults of the eight-month-old war.

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, the Palestinian territory’s ruling Islamist group.

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 in a briefing with journalists. 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.

Israel named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41. They were taken to hospital for medical checks and were in good health, the military said.

They were all kidnapped from the Nova music festival during the deadly raid by Hamas-led Palestinian militants on Israeli towns and villages near Gaza on October 7, which precipitated the devastating war.


Hamas’ raid killed some 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, and Israel’s subsequent bombardment and invasion of Gaza has killed at least 36,801 Palestinians, according to an updated tally by the territory’s health ministry on Saturday.


Gunmen took around 250 hostages back to Gaza on October 7, more than 100 of whom were released in exchange for about 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails during a week-long truce in November. There are 116 hostages left in the coastal enclave, according to Israeli tallies, including at least 40 whom Israeli authorities have declared dead in absentia.


The spokesperson for Hamas’ armed al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, said some hostages were killed during the rescue operation.


Attempts by the United States and regional countries to forge a deal that would release all remaining hostages in return for a ceasefire have repeatedly failed as Israel presses its assault in Gaza. Fresh airstrikes in the southern city of Rafah hit homes later on Saturday, residents and Hamas officials said.

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