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More Details of Israel's Dramatic Hostage Rescue

IDF operatives were able to secure four former hostages in what military chiefs branded a “complex daytime operation” at 11 am (8 am GMT) on Saturday, June 8, in Nuseirat. Aerial footage released by the IDF showed a group of around 11 people running along the ground in Gaza and into the awaiting helicopter to escape.

Noa Argamani, one of the four hostages, is shown in emotional scenes to have returned to the arms of her father on the day of his birthday. Noa will now be able to see her mother who has repeatedly shared her prayers to see her daughter again since her diagnosis with stage 4 cancer.

Among the hostages freed was also Andrey Kozlov, 27, a Russian who moved to Israel in 2022. He had been working as a security guard at the Nova festival when he was kidnapped. Shlomi Ziv, 41, was also part of security at the festival and managed to call his sisters as the attack unfolded, telling them he did not want them to worry.

Almog Meir Jan, 21, tried to flee the festival, but he and a friend only managed to drive a short distance in the friend’s car before being forced to stop. He phoned his mother during the attack. The operation is understood to have been planned for months.

The Israeli forces practiced using models of the two houses where the hostages were held. The houses, which were 200 m apart, were raided simultaneously ‘like a surgical operation’ to reduce the risk of the hostages being killed in either one, the IDF said. They were held in locked rooms in apartments containing both families and armed guards.

The helicopter mission to rescue Noa went quickly and easily, but the squad set to retrieve the other three met stiff resistance and descended into a firefight with Hamas terrorists.

It was during the latter mission that Officer Arnon Zmora was fatally injured. The IDF later said the married father of two, 36, had led a battle against Hamas gunmen on October 7 at the Yad Mordechai kibbutz. It also said that the rescue operation would be retrospectively named “Operation Arnon” in his honor. (DM / VFI News)

“He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” - Psalm 9:8-9