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Israel says 4 hostages, including Noa Argamani, rescued in Gaza operation that Hamas says killed hundreds of civilians

Four Israeli hostages taken by Hamas from a music festival during the group's October 7 terrorist attack were rescued alive Saturday during a raid on the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces, the security service Shin Bet, and the Israeli police announced in a joint statement.

Noa Argamani, 26, along with 22-year-old Almog Meir Jan, 27-year-old Andrey Kozlov and 41-year-old Shlomi Ziv were all kidnapped at the Nova music festival. They were recovered after the IDF announced it was striking "terrorist infrastructure" in central Gaza.

Noa Argamani is among four Israeli hostages that were rescued by Israeli forces from Gaza on Saturday, June 8 2024. IDF Handout

The joint statement said the hostages were rescued from two different locations during the operation, and that "their medical condition is normal."

The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 274 Palestinians were killed and more than 400 injured in the operation. The Gaza ministry does not differentiate between fighters and civilians in its death tolls. Israeli officials acknowledged Palestinians casualties during the Gaza raid, but a spokesperson for the military put the figure at fewer than 100. 

Staff at Gaza's Al-Aqsa hospital were reportedly struggling to treat casualties.

"Dozens of injured people are lying on the ground and medical teams are trying to save them with the simple medical capabilities they have," Gaza's health ministry said in a statement on social media.

The freed Israelis were sent to the Tel Hashomer Sheba Medical Center for further medical examination, the joint statement said. Family members could be seen arriving at the hospital on Saturday to greet their loved ones. 

A hostage families forum said Argamani, Meir Jan and Ziv had marked birthdays in captivity. The army had earlier provided their ages when they were abducted.

Freed Israeli hostage Shlomi Ziv is shown reuniting with his family after months in captivity in Gaze on June 8 2024. IDF Handout

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel does not give in to terrorism and was operating "creatively and bravely" to rescue the hostages. "We will not let up until we complete the mission and return home all the hostages, both those alive and dead," Netanyahu said.

"I followed the complex operation from the command and control center — IDF, ISA and Special Forces operated with extraordinary courage under heavy fire, and succeeded in completing their mission," Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said after the announcement. "Israel's defense establishment will continue fighting until 120 hostages return home."

"The heroic operation by the IDF that freed and brought home Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, and Almog Meir Jan is a miraculous triumph," the Hostages Families Forum said in a statement. "Now, with the joy that is washing over Israel, the Israeli government must remember its commitment to bring back all 120 hostages still held by Hamas - the living for rehabilitation, the murdered for burial."

Israeli hostages rescued
Israeli hostage Andrei Kozlov, 27, disembarks with soldiers from an Israeli Air Force CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter which landed in the grounds of the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv on June 8, 2024, after his rescue by the Israeli army from captivity in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said its troops had rescued four Israeli hostages alive from Gaza after a "complex daytime operation" on June 8.  GIDEON MARKOWICZ/AFP via Getty Images

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that the four hostages were rescued by IDF soldiers from two separate buildings as part of a "high risk complex mission based on precise intelligence conducted in daylight."

Hagari said the rescue took place "while under fire inside the buildings, under fire on the way out of Gaza," and that Israeli forces had been preparing for the mission for weeks.

"They underwent intensive training. They risked the lives to save the lives of our hostages. This is what we do in Israel," Hagari said.

Eyewitnesses in Gaza told CBS News that Israeli forces were disguised in civilian clothing before the raid, but were then discovered and violent clashes took place. Further Israeli forces then intervened by land, air and sea, bombing the area and killing and injuring a large number of civilians.

The bodies of 109 Palestinians including 23 children and 11 women were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where spokesperson Khalil Degran told The Associated Press more than 100 wounded also arrived. He said that overall, 210 dead had been taken there and to Al-Awda Hospital, saying he had spoken to the director there. Al-Awda's numbers couldn't immediately be confirmed.

One IDF fighter, Commander Arnon Zamora, was killed during the hostage rescue, Israeli police said in a statement on social media.

Over 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing over 1,200 people and taking some 250 people hostage.

Egypt condemned "with the strongest terms" Israel's attacks on the Nuseirat refugee camp, with its foreign ministry calling it a "flagrant violation of all rules of international law."

The United States provided support to the successful Israeli security forces raid, two U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News. The U.S. military did not participate in the operation, a U.S. official said.

"We won't stop working until all the hostages come home and a cease-fire is reached," President Biden said on Saturday during a visit to Paris.

In a statement Saturday evening, the State Department said it welcomed "the rescue of four hostages who after eight months of captivity have finally been reunited with their families in Israel. The United States will not rest until every hostage is returned home."

The statement also referenced a cease-fire deal publicly outlined by Mr. Biden last week, saying that "the only thing standing in the way of achieving this ceasefire is Hamas. It is time for them to accept the deal."

— Marwan Al-Ghoul contributed to this report.

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