Palestinians report hundreds dead as Israel frees four Hamas hostages


Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said.

The Palestinian director of the al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah said at least 94 people had been killed and a further 200 injured in the course of the Israeli rescue operation.

The Hamas media office later said that 210 Palestinians had been killed and around 400 injured in Nuseirat. The information could not be independently verified. The Israeli army said it was checking the reports.

The freed Israeli hostages were named as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27 and Shlomi Ziv, 40. They were all abducted from the Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7, the army said.

“They are alive. They are fine,” said Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari. Israeli media showed pictures of the happy reunion of Argamani with her family. She is especially well known in Israel as she was seen being kidnapped by Hamas on a motorbike, desperately crying out for help.

The four were rescued in two operations that had been planned for weeks, Hagari said. He again accused Hamas of using Palestinian civilians as shields. Families and armed guards had been present in both building from which the hostages had been freed, he said.

The IDF forces had come under sustained attack with rocket-propelled grenades and had responded on the ground and from the air, Hagari said.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida posted on the Telegram channel of the Al-Qassam Brigades that several hostages had been killed when Israeli forces freed the four hostages.

The IDF responded said that Hamas was using psychological warfare and that its statements should be treated with caution. Hamas has in the past claimed that hostages have been killed in IDF operations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has requested an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss what the Palestinian Authority termed “the gruesome massacre perpetrated by Israeli forces this morning in the Nuseirat refugee camp,” the Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.

EU top diplomat Josep Borrell condemned reports of civilian deaths. “Reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians are appalling. We condemn this in the strongest terms,” he posted on X. “The bloodbath must end immediately.”

There were reportedly heavy airstrikes and artillery fire in the area. Footage purporting to show scenes from the treating hospital shows bloodied victims, dead bodies and injured children. According to reports, complete chaos broke out at the al-Aqsa hospital.

Christopher Lockyear, general secretary of Doctors without Borders, told CNN: “The scenes that our teams are reporting from Gaza over the last couple of days are absolutely horrific. The only word that I can summon to describe it is apocalyptic.”

The Hamas-controlled media office spoke of “an unprecedented, brutal attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp” and said that the al-Aqsa hospital was in a catastrophic situation.

In Doha, Ismail Haniyeh, the top Hamas official, described Israel’s recent operations in Gaza as a “massacre” of the Palestinians.

“The enemy is continuing its massacre against our people, our children and women, in Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah,” Hanija said on Saturday. Haniyeh declared that Israel had “failed militarily, politically and morally.”

As for the still unsuccessful negotiations on a possible ceasefire, Haniyeh declared that Hamas would not agree to any agreement that did not “first and foremost provide security for our people.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argamani on Saturday, according to his office. She was happy to be able to speak in Hebrew again after such a long time, according to the media.

Her mother is suffering from terminal cancer and wanted to see her daughter before she died. Israeli media said Saturday is her father’s birthday.

According to the Forum of Hostage Families, Argamani’s boyfriend, who was also kidnapped and seen on that October 7 video of the kidnapping, is still being held by Hamas.

According to a media report, spontaneous cheers and applause broke out on the beach in Tel Aviv after a lifeguard announced the rescue operation.

We are overjoyed to have you home,” said Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, according to his office. He spoke of a “heroic operation.”

Benny Gantz, a minister in Israel’s war cabinet, said after the hostages were rescued that his “heart was full,” according to the media. At the same time, he cancelled a speech planned for the evening. He had been expected to announce his party’s withdrawal from the government.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the release of four Israeli hostages from the Gaza Strip on Saturday as an “important sign of hope.”

Writing on X, he said this was “especially true for the many families in Israel who continue to fear for their loved ones.

“Four hostages are now free. Hamas must finally release all hostages. The war must end,” he said.

According to Israeli police, a high-ranking Israeli official was also killed during the operation in Nuseirat. No additional information was immediately available.

The war started on October 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel, killing 1,200 and taking about 250 people as hostage.

In November there was a temporary ceasefire in which Hamas released more than 100 hostages in exchange for Israel releasing Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

There are believed to be about 120 hostages from Israel still in Gaza but it is unclear how many of them are still alive.

A Palestinian man carries his injured little girl at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaA Palestinian man carries his injured little girl at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

Palestinian men carry the body of a dead person at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaPalestinian men carry the body of a dead person at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

Palestinian men carry the body of a dead person at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaPalestinian men carry the body of a dead person at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

Injured Palestinians receive medical treatment at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaInjured Palestinians receive medical treatment at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

A Palestinian man carries a little kid to receive medical treatment at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaA Palestinian man carries a little kid to receive medical treatment at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

Injured Palestinians arrive at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for treatment following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpaInjured Palestinians arrive at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for treatment following simultaneous Israeli attacks on Nuseirat Refugee Camp, al-Bureij Refugee Camp and al-Maghazi Refugee Camp. Israeli special forces rescued four hostages in broad daylight on Saturday from the Nuseirat refugee district in the centre of the Gaza Strip after 246 days in captivity, the army said. Omar Naaman/dpa

Andrey Kozlov (C), 27, one of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpaAndrey Kozlov (C), 27, one of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpaIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a “complex special daytime operation” in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpaIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a “complex special daytime operation” in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa

Shlomi Ziv (L), 40, Andrey Kozlov (C), 27, and Almog Meir, 21, three of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrive by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpaShlomi Ziv (L), 40, Andrey Kozlov (C), 27, and Almog Meir, 21, three of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrive by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa

Andrey Kozlov (C), 27, one of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpaAndrey Kozlov (C), 27, one of the four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives by a helicopter at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa

A helicopter carrying the rescued Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpaA helicopter carrying the rescued Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa

A helicopter carrying the rescued Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpaA helicopter carrying the rescued Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, arrives at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa



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