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Israel celebrates hostage release

“Heroic Triumph”
Israel celebrates hostage release

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Eight months have passed since the terror of October 7, 2023, and four months since the last hostages returned alive from Gaza. Hope is fading for the more than 100 people still in the hands of the terrorists. In this situation, the news of the release of four hostages sparks relief and jubilation in Israel.

The release of four hostages after eight months of captivity in the Gaza Strip sparked jubilation in Israel. It was not just the hostages' relatives and politicians who reacted with relief. On the beach in Tel Aviv, for example, people spontaneously clapped and cheered when the news of the release was announced over the beach guards' loudspeaker system. The media also broadcast videos of relatives and friends of the hostages bursting into tears of joy.

The forum of families of the hostages and missing persons praised the “heroic operation of the Israel Defense Forces that freed and brought home Noa Argamani, Schlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan” as a “heroic triumph”. With the “great joy throughout Israel”, the Israeli government must now remember its obligation to bring back all 120 people still held hostage by Hamas – the living and the bodies of those killed. Defense Minister Joav Gallant wrote on X that he was “overjoyed”. Israeli President Isaak Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed similar views.

They all expressly praised the forces of the secret service, police and army involved in the rescue operation. They had rescued the four hostages in two large-scale operations in the center of the Gaza Strip that morning. According to the Israeli police, one officer was killed in the operation. According to the Palestinian director of the Al-Aqsa Hospital, at least 94 people were killed and another 200 injured in the course of the Israeli rescue operation. When asked, the army said it was examining the reports.

Cancer-stricken mother’s wish fulfilled

Noa Argamani, Schlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan are the first hostages to return alive from the Gaza Strip to Israel in around four months. Most recently, Israeli special forces managed to rescue two hostages by force in February. In total, Israel's military has now freed seven of the original 250 hostages. Hamas only released hostages once as part of an exchange with Palestinian prisoners in November. Negotiations for further exchanges have failed since then. Instead, the deaths of other Hamas victims have been announced time and again. Several hostages were killed by mistake by the Israeli army. It is not known how many hostages are still alive in the Gaza Strip.

The 25-year-old Argamani in particular had become a symbol of Hamas' cruelty and the suffering of the hostages. A video of her went around the world after October 7, 2023. It shows her being kidnapped by terrorists on a motorcycle from the Nova music festival in southern Israel. At the festival alone, Hamas supporters and other terrorist organizations killed several hundred people. Most recently, Noa Argamani's mother, who was seriously ill with cancer, turned to the public with the wish to be able to see her daughter again before she died.

Hamas, which triggered the Gaza War with its terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, does not see the hostage release as a success for Israel. A senior Hamas official told Reuters that “freeing four prisoners after nine months of fighting is a sign of failure, not success.”

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