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11 Jun, 2024 16:33

Israeli troops disguised themselves as Palestinians during hostage rescue operation – ABC

The special forces freed four people in a daylight raid on Nuseirat camp in central Gaza on Saturday
Israeli troops disguised themselves as Palestinians during hostage rescue operation – ABC

Israeli special forces were disguised as Palestinian refugees looking for a place to live during last week’s operation to rescue hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, ABC News reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

Israeli commandos rescued four people from two separate buildings in Nuseirat, a sprawling refugee camp in central Gaza on Saturday. The hostages had been held in Gaza since October 7 of last year, when Hamas launched a surprise cross-border attack on Israel, in which some 1,200 people were killed and 250 kidnapped.

Israeli security sources told ABC that special forces were already in position near the buildings where the hostages were being held before they were given the “go” command by Israeli forces. The mission took place at 11am local time.

The helicopters carrying the freed hostages and wounded officers from the Israeli Police National Counterterrorism Unit, which participated in the rescue operation, landed at Sheba Medical Center in Israel starting at 12:15pm and the last helicopter landed at 12:45pm.

The hostages – Almog Meir Jan (age 21), Noa Argamani (25), Andrey Kozlov (27) and Shlomi Ziv (40) – were in “good medical condition” when they were rescued, IDF officials stated.

Kozlov, a Russian-Israeli dual citizen, was working at the Nova festival as a security guard when Hamas launched a surprise cross-border attack on Israel.

Officials with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday that at least 274 Palestinians had been killed during the IDF operation in Nuseirat and 698 people were injured.

The Israeli military had previously worn civilian clothing as a tactic in its operations, according to media reports.

Hamas took around 250 hostages on October 7. Around half of those were traded for Palestinian prisoners during a week-long ceasefire in November, and seven have been rescued by Israeli forces. Of the remaining 120, 43 are thought to be dead, according to an updated official tally released by West Jerusalem. Three hostages were reportedly killed by friendly fire in December 2023.

Israeli forces have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and injured over 84,000 during the eight months of large-scale airstrikes and ground offensives, according to the enclave’s authorities.

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