Israel rescues 4 hostages, Hamas claims over 210 Palestinians killed

The operation happened amidst calls for Israel and Hamas to accept a ceasefire deal backed by the U.S. to secure the peaceful release of all hostages.

Amber Tay | June 09, 2024, 03:34 PM



Four hostages were rescued on Jun. 8, after Israel carried out its largest hostage rescue operation since the latest war with Hamas began on Oct. 7, 2023.

Heavy air and ground assault took place, and the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip was hit.

Media reports quote Hamas officials that at least 210 Palestinians, including children, were killed.

According to Reuters, Israeli officials had estimated Palestinian casualties to be "under 100", and an Israeli special forces commander was killed during the operation.

4 hostages rescued

The Israeli army said the operation happened in the heart of Nuseirat, where two locations were raided at once while under fire.

The rescued hostages are Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41. All four had been taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack while attending a music festival.

They were reportedly taken to a hospital for medical checks and were in good health.

Argamani was one of the most widely recognised hostages who were taken from the music festival after a video circulated online of her pleading not to be killed as she was abducted by two men on a motorcycle during the attack.

Approximately 250 hostages were taken during the Oct. 7 attack, with more than 100 released in a weeklong ceasefire in November.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the fighting until all hostages were free.

About 120 hostages remain, with 43 pronounced dead, according to the Associated Press.

210 Palestinians killed

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital spokesperson Khalil Degran told the Associated Press that more than 100 wounded Palestinians arrived at the hospital, with 210 dead.

Senior Hamas official Bassem Naim said that more than 400 were wounded.

Calls for ceasefire

The latest incident happened amidst mounting calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas from the international community after negotiations for one failed in May.

In a bid to pressure both parties into reaching an agreement, the U.S. White House released a joint statement with the leaders of 16 countries on Jun. 6, who also have citizens from their countries held hostage in Gaza.

The 16 countries are Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

The statement noted that while the leaders are "deeply concerned" for the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, they "fully support the movement" towards a ceasefire and hostage release deal as outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31.

In another statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, published on the White House's website, Sullivan "commended" the work of the Israeli security services for their "daring operation", noting that the hostages rescued were taken by Hamas in a "horrific abduction".

He reiterated the administration's call for Israel and Hamas to support Biden's ceasefire deal for the release of the remaining hostages.

The statement said that other than the 17 countries which have citizens held as hostages, the deal has also been endorsed by G7, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, and Qatar.

Top image via Associated Press.