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Israeli army rescues four captives during intense bombardment of Gaza

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Israeli military forces conducted a rescue operation in central Gaza, rescuing four captives during an escalated assault across the territory. The captives, taken from a music festival during an attack led by Palestinian group Hamas, were in good medical condition and taken to the hospital after the operation. The army stated that the captives were rescued in a complex daytime operation in the heart of Nuseirat. However, Hamas claimed that other captives were killed during the operation. This operation marked the largest recovery of live captives in Gaza since October 7 and brought the total of rescued captives to seven.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant praised the operation as “one of the most heroic and extraordinary operations” he had witnessed in his 47 years of service. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hailed the rescues as historic and emphasized the commitment to getting the release of all hostages from Gaza. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported casualties, including children, in response to what they described as an “unprecedented brutal attack” by the Israeli army in Nuseirat. Hamas officials criticized the rescue operation, calling it a sign of failure rather than an achievement.

The Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in a high number of casualties, with thousands missing and presumed dead. The assault was launched in response to a Hamas-led attack that killed over a thousand people and took some captives. Despite efforts to return captives through deals brokered by Qatar and the United States, many hostages still remained in Gaza. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Israel welcomed the recent rescue but called on the government to bring back all 120 hostages still held by Hamas. US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron both welcomed the rescues and renewed calls for a ceasefire and the release of remaining captives.

The rescue mission impacted Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz’s plans to announce his resignation from Netanyahu’s government. Gantz, who had joined the government after the October 7 attack, had set a deadline for Netanyahu to provide a strategy for Gaza, which passed on Saturday. The delay in Gantz’s resignation announcement was attributed to the ongoing rescue operation to avoid alerting Hamas. Gantz’s departure would not bring down Netanyahu’s government but would be a significant blow to the prime minister. Netanyahu urged Gantz not to leave the government, emphasizing the importance of unity during the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

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