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Israel announces the release of four hostages in the Gaza Strip

The Israeli army announced Saturday having released four hostages during a "special operation" in the center of the Gaza Strip, an area targeted by by intense bombardments for several days.

In the ninth month of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under strong pressure abroad for his conduct of the war in Gaza, but also internally with that of the families of the kidnapped hostages during the unprecedented attack carried out on Israeli soil by Hamas on October 7, which triggered hostilities.

Saturday morning, during “a special operation difficult day in Nousseirat, four Israeli hostages were released,” the Israeli army wrote in a statement.

They are Noa Argamani, 26 years old, Almog Meir Jan, 22 years old, Andrey Kozlov, 27 years old, and Shlomi Ziv, 41 years old, all four” kidnapped” from the site of the Nova electro music festival, according to the army.

The hostages, according to the same source, were “rescued” in two different locations in Nousseirat and are “in good health”. They were transferred to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv, “for further medical examinations”.

– “Miraculous” –

“Noa, Almog, Andrey and Shlomi, we are very happy to welcome you home”, congratulated, on X, Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Minister of Defense, describing the operation which led to their release as “heroic”.

The Hostage Families Forum hailed a “miraculous triumph”, urging the government and the international community to obtain the release of the other hostages.

Israeli strikes have concentrated in recent days on the center of the Gaza Strip, particularly on Nousseirat, where one of them on a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) left 37 dead on Thursday, according to a local hospital.

Accusing Hamas of having purposely used this school to launch attacks, the Israeli army said it had killed “17 terrorists” during this strike. Hamas, which declared that 14 children had died, denounced “false information”.

Israel announces the release of four hostages in the Gaza Strip

Damage inflicted by an Israeli strike on a school of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), on June 7, 2024, in Nousseirat, in the center of the Gaza Strip, where a conflict pits Israel against the Islamist movement Hamas © AFP – Eyad BABA

The head of Unrwa, Philippe Lazzarini, accused Israel of having struck “without prior warning” this school in Nousseirat which sheltered, according to him, “6,000 people displaced” by the fighting.

Before its announcement on the hostages, the Israeli army said on Saturday that it was targeting “terrorist infrastructures” in the Nusseirat sector, while witnesses reported shooting from drones and helicopters against the camp.

A spokesperson for the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, near Nousseirat, Doctor Khalil al-Dakran, announced the death of 15 people in “intense Israeli strikes”, which, according to him, caused dozens of others injured.

Intense fighting between the army and Palestinian fighters takes place in the camps of Al-Bureij and the neighboring camp of al-Maghazi, after witnesses.

Israel announces the release of four hostages in the Gaza Strip

Palestinians flee on June 8, 2024 from the east of Deir el-Balah, in the center of the Gaza Strip, where a war pits Israel against the Islamist movement Hamas © AFP – Eyad BABA

In a statement, the Israeli army said it struck “dozens of terrorist cells and infrastructure, including a tunnel located in a civilian structure” during operations in Bureij and Deir al-Balah.

In the north, five people were killed and seven injured in a nighttime aerial bombardment on a house in the Sheikh Radwane neighborhood of Gaza City, a doctor from the Baptist Hospital and the Gaza Civil Defense.

– “Huge explosion” –

“We have heard the sound of a huge explosion (…) We went there and discovered human remains of children, women and elderly people,” Mohammad Abou Nahl, a resident of Gaza.

In the south, artillery bombardments hit several areas of the town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, according to local sources. The army indicated that it was continuing “targeted operations” there and having discovered “large quantities of weapons”.

The attack carried out on October 7 by commandos of the Hamas infiltration from Palestinian territory resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official data.

Israel announces the release of four hostages in the Gaza Strip

A man carrying pieces of wood recovered from the rubble of a destroyed building on his bicycle pushes his bicycle on June 8, 2024 in Deir al-Balah, in the center of the Gaza Strip, where a conflict pits Israel against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas © AFP – Eyad BABA

During this attack, 251 people were taken as hostages. After a short truce in November which allowed the release of around a hundred of them, 116 hostages are still being held in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response to the October 7 attack, the Israeli military launched a deadly offensive in the small coastal territory where Hamas seized power in 2007. At least 36,801 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza government.

– Blinken's upcoming visit –

The conflict has devastated much of the Gaza Strip and uprooted most of its 2.4 million residents, who face the risk of starvation. International aid, whose entry into Gaza is controlled by Israel, only reaches the territory in dribs and drabs.

Israel announces the release of four hostages in the Gaza Strip

Photo released by the Israeli army on June 6, 2024 of Israeli soldiers during operations in the Gaza Strip © Israeli Army – –

In Israel, Benny Gantz, the former head of the army who became political rival of Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to announce his resignation on Saturday evening, canceled his intervention, according to an Israeli media outlet, shortly before the declaration on the release of the hostages.

He issued an ultimatum to Mr. Netanyahu on May 18, demanding the adoption, by June 8, of a ” action plan” on the post-war in the Gaza Strip, failing which he would be “forced to resign from the government”, which he had joined after October 7.

While diplomatic efforts to achieve a truce are stalling, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected next week in Israel, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan, to “promote a ceasefire proposal fire” recently presented by President Joe Biden, according to Washington.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to the matter, Qatar and Egypt have recently threatened Hamas officials with arrest and expulsion from Doha where they are based if they did not agree to a truce with Israel.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116