Israel rescues four hostages in raid that killed 210 people in Gaza

Israeli forces conducted a raid in Gaza on Saturday, rescuing four hostages held by Hamas since October, an operation that Palestinian officials said resulted in over 200 deaths, marking one of the deadliest assaults in the eight-month-old conflict.

The rescue operation, accompanied by an intense air assault, took place in al-Nuseirat, a densely populated area in central Gaza, often embroiled in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group governing the Palestinian territory.

An Israeli military spokesperson stated that the hostages were held in two separate apartment buildings within a residential neighborhood in Nuseirat. During the assault, Israeli forces faced heavy resistance and responded with both aerial and ground fire, according to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

“We are aware of under 100 Palestinian casualties, though the exact number of terrorists among them is unknown,” Hagari said during a briefing. The operation also resulted in the death of an Israeli special forces commander, as confirmed by a police statement.

Gazan paramedics and residents reported that the assault resulted in numerous casualties, with the bodies of men, women, and children scattered across a marketplace and near a mosque.

The rescued hostages were identified as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41. All four, who were abducted from the Nova music festival during a deadly raid by Hamas on Israeli towns and villages near Gaza on October 7, were taken to a hospital for medical evaluation and were reported to be in good health.

The initial Hamas raid resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities. In response, Israel’s subsequent bombardment and invasion of Gaza have led to at least 36,801 Palestinian casualties, as per the latest figures from the territory’s health ministry on Saturday.