‘Final surprise’: How an Israeli raid freed 4 hostages and killed scores of Palestinians in Gaza

‘Final surprise’: How an Israeli raid freed 4 hostages and killed scores of Palestinians in Gaza

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — They arrived during the day, when the squat concrete buildings of the Nuseirat refugee camp are stifling and the slim streets birth air are stuffed with folk. Nobody suspected a mutter till the footage rang out.

The Israeli raid caught all people off guard, from the Hamas militants guarding four hostages in two assorted buildings to the hundreds of civilians who soon discovered themselves working for their lives by draw of a blistering crossfire.

By the time it used to be over, four Israeli hostages had been introduced dwelling alive and mostly unscathed, as a minimal bodily, and as a minimal 274 Palestinians, and an Israeli commando, had been killed.

For Israel, it used to be the most a hit operation of the eight-month battle, bringing nationwide elation and doing away with about a of the stain from the military’s unheard of give draw on Oct. 7. For Palestinians, it used to be a day of awe that sent a total bunch of lifeless and wounded flooding into already beleaguered hospitals.

Here’s how it unfolded, in step with the Israeli military and Palestinian witnesses.


Noa Argamani, a 26-twelve months-primitive who had emerged as an icon of the hostage crisis, used to be being held in a single apartment and three male hostages — Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, had been in a single other about 200 meters (yards) away. All had been kidnapped from a desolate tract rave-modified into-bloodbath notify during the Oct. 7 assault that ignited the battle.

They’d been moved amongst assorted areas but had been by no come held in Hamas’ notorious tunnels. On the time of their rescue they had been in locked rooms guarded by Hamas gunmen. Israeli intelligence discovered where they had been and commandos spent weeks working in direction of the raid on lifestyles-measurement units of the buildings, in step with Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman.

“It needs to be admire a surgical operation, admire a mind operation,” he acknowledged.

He acknowledged they determined to strike at noon due to it’d be the “final suprise,” and to kind out the two buildings simultaneously. Planners feared that if they hit one first, the captors would hear the commotion and abolish the hostages within the assorted.

Hagari declined to teach how the Israeli forces made their come to the center of Nuseirat, a crowded, built-up refugee camp in central Gaza courting aid to the 1948 Arab-Israeli battle. In line with outdated operations, as a minimal about a of the special forces who took fragment within the raid likely dressed admire Palestinians and spoke fluent Arabic.

Kamal Benaji, a Palestinian displaced from Gaza Metropolis who used to be living in a tent in central Nuseirat, acknowledged he saw a small truck with a car in front and one other within the aid of pull up in front of a building on the avenue where he had pitched his tent.

The commandos sprang from the truck and regarded as one of them threw a grenade into the dwelling. “Clashes and explosions broke out in all places,” he acknowledged.


The rescue of Argamani seems to thrill in gone easily, whereas the team extracting the three assorted hostages ran into wretchedness.

Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, an officer in an elite police commando unit, used to be mortally wounded during the shatter-in, whereby the total Hamas guards had been killed, Amos Harel, a used protection correspondent, wrote in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. Then the rescue car carrying the three hostages bought stuck within the camp, he acknowledged.

Palestinian militants armed with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire on the rescuers, as Israel called in heavy strikes from land and air to duvet their evacuation to the wing. “A huge range of fire used to be around us,” Hagari acknowledged.

It used to be this bombardment that seems to thrill in killed and wounded so many Palestinians.

Mohamed al-Habash, one other displaced Palestinian, used to be within the Nuseirat market purchasing for humanitarian aid or more cost effective food when the heavy bombing began. He took duvet with a half of-dozen assorted folk in a broken dwelling. He acknowledged many different homes had been hit.

“We heard very loud bombing and heavy gunfire,” he acknowledged. “We saw many fighter jets flying over the attach.”

The Israeli rescuers finally made it to the wing. Zamora used to be evacuated by helicopter and later died of his wounds in a sanatorium. The military renamed the operation in his honor.

Pictures launched by the military confirmed troopers walking the hostages alongside the beach toward the water and helicopters whipping up clouds of sand as they took off.

‘We called the hostages diamonds, so we notify we now delight in got the diamonds in our fingers,” Hagari acknowledged.


On the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Scientific institution within the nearby city of Deir al-Balah, the lifeless and wounded arrived in waves — men, females and children. It be regarded as one of the most final functioning clinical facilities within the attach and used to be already stuffed with folk wounded in heavy strikes in recent days.

Samuel Johann, a coordinator with the global charity Scientific doctors With out Borders, which operates within the sanatorium, acknowledged it used to be a “nightmare.”

“There were aid-to-aid mass casualties as densely populated areas are bombed. It’s come beyond what anybody would possibly kind out in a realistic sanatorium, no longer to mention with the scarce resources we now delight in came,” he acknowledged in a assertion launched by the neighborhood.

The Gaza Smartly being Ministry acknowledged 274 Palestinians had been killed and around 700 had been wounded. The ministry would no longer distinguish between civilians and warring parties in its tallies, but acknowledged the lifeless included 64 early life and 57 females.

Khulood Shalaq, who used to be being handled at one other sanatorium with her wounded 1-twelve months-primitive nephew, acknowledged 14 members of her family had been killed within the raid, with some gathered buried within the rubble. She acknowledged at one point she saw four helicopters launching missiles into the camp.

“The streets are stuffed with lifeless our bodies,” she acknowledged.

Hamas later launched a video claiming that three assorted hostages, in conjunction with an American, had been killed within the bombardment, but it completely equipped no evidence. The military acknowledged it does “no longer reply to statements by terrorist organizations.”

Hamas and assorted militants are gathered retaining some 120 hostages, around a third of whom are believed to thrill in died. Hagari acknowledged that a stop-fire deal would bring dwelling extra hostages than military operations, but acknowledged Israeli forces must “bag prerequisites” to bring them dwelling.

“We’re doing things which would possibly be unbelievable, and we’re going to bag a draw to maintain on doing things which would possibly be unimagined,” he acknowledged.


Jeffery reported from Jerusalem and Chehayeb from Beirut. Linked Press writer Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed.


Observe AP’s coverage of the battle in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-battle

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