4 Israeli hostages, including Noa Argamani, rescued from Gaza

Four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 have been rescued, Israeli security forces said, marking the second time in eight months of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza that hostages have been rescued alive.

The Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Securities Authority and the Israel Police said in a statement that the four rescued are Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; Shlomi Ziv, 40; and Noa Argamani, 25. All four have been transferred to the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center near Tel Aviv, officials said. They are in good medical condition.

From top left, clockwise, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Shlomi Ziv and Andrey Kozlov. Facebook; Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP file

Argamani became the face of the hostage crisis after harrowing video of her kidnapping was published online. Video posted by the Israeli prime minister’s spokesperson on Saturday showed Argamani hugging her father as they reunited.

“This is the happiest days of our lives,” Yan Gorjaltsan, Argamani’s friend, told NBC News as he and a group of friends traveled to Tel Aviv to see her. “You can’t believe how we’re feeling.”

Meir Jan, who served in the military until months prior to the attack, was captured at the Nova music festival as he tried to escape. Ziv and Kozlov — who had recently moved to Israel from Russia — were working as security guards at the event.

The hostages were rescued from two locations in Nuseirat in a daytime operation, Israeli officials said. The operation came amid ongoing cease-fire negotiations, as well as intense Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip, including in the central area where Nuseirat is located. The Gaza Government Media Office said that at least 210 Palestinians were killed and at least 400 injured in the Israeli operation to recover the four hostages, Reuters reported.

“We commend the work of the Israeli security services that conducted this daring operation,” said U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan in a statement. He added that “the hostage release and ceasefire deal that is now on the table would secure the release of all the remaining hostages together with security assurances for Israel and relief for the innocent civilians in Gaza.”

On Thursday, the Israeli military bombed a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school that was being used as a shelter in Nuseirat, killing at least 33 people, including 12 women and children, the U.N. said.

Approximately 1,200 people were killed and 250 were taken captive in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. The Israeli government believes that more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza, a quarter of whom are presumed dead. According to Gaza officials, Israel’s assault on the strip has killed at least 36,000 people, including more than 15,000 children, and has injured more than 83,000.

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