IDF successfully rescues hostages Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv from Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in a statement on Saturday that four hostages were rescued from Hamas captivity in the Gaza strip. The hostages, Noa Argamani, 25; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40, were taken captive during the Nova music festival on October 7. 

The rescue operation took place in Nuseirat, with the hostages freed by Shin Bet and Yamam fighters. All four individuals are reported to be in stable condition and have been transferred to a medical center for further examinations, according to the Times of Israel

Noa Argamani initially gained attention on social media when her abduction from October 7 went viral, showing her begging Hamas fighters not to kill her and ultimately being taken hostage on a motorbike.  

Following the operation to free the hostages, a heartwarming video of the moment that Argamani reunited with her father was posted on social media. Argmani’s family had hoped that she would be released in a timely manner, especially given the fact that her mother is currently battling terminal brain cancer. Her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, is still believed to be held in Gaza. 

Almog Meir Jan had been released from military service just months before the October 7 attack. He attempted to flee the festival when the attack started but was ultimately captured. 

Shlomi Ziv, a security guard at the festival, reportedly called his sisters while trying to escape the attack, per a report from the outlet. Andrey Kozlov, also a security guard, had recently moved to Israel from Russia. Neither of the two were ever previously included in a hostage deal with Hamas. 

This operation marks the second successful rescue of living hostages by the IDF since the October 7 attack. The first operation occurred in February, during which two hostages were rescued from Rafah. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he approved the operation to release the hostages "without hesitation." 

"I want to repeat and make clear that we will return everyone," Netanyahu said, indicating that plans for more operations to free hostages held in Gaza are in progress. 

Hamas is reported to have captured approximately 250 hostages on October 7. About half of these hostages were released during a November cease-fire, but Israel suspects that around 130 hostages remain, with a quarter presumed dead.

Image: Title: Hostages