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"Operation Arnon: The Dramatic Rescue of Four Hostages from Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Gaza"

Rescued hostage Shlomi Ziv hugs his family after spending eight months kidnapped in Gaza.(Israeli Army via Reuters)

On June 8, 2024, a dramatic and complex rescue operation unfolded in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, leading to the liberation of four hostages held by Hamas. The hostages, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv, had been in captivity for eight months. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) conducted the operation, which was later named Operation Arnon.

The rescue mission was meticulously planned and executed by IDF special forces, including elite units such as the Shaldag unit and the Yamam counter-terrorism unit. The operation involved simultaneous raids on two buildings where the hostages were being held. These buildings were located in a densely populated area, adding to the complexity and risk of the mission. During the operation, an IDF commando officer was critically wounded and later succumbed to his injuries​.

The operation was notable for its precision and coordination, reflecting the IDF's capability to conduct high-stakes missions in challenging environments. The rescue provided a rare moment of relief and joy amidst the ongoing war, as the four hostages were safely reunited with their families. This mission marked only the third successful hostage rescue since the onset of the war, highlighting the extraordinary difficulties involved in such operations.

The rescue of the hostages was hailed by Israeli leaders and citizens alike, bringing a temporary sense of victory and hope. However, it also underscored the persistent challenges and human cost of the conflict, with many more hostages still held in Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the region continuing to deteriorate.

About the four hostages released:

Noa Argamani

Noa Argamani, a 26-year-old Israeli, became a prominent figure following the tragic events of October 7. She was filmed being forcibly taken from a music festival by Hamas militants, riding on the back of a motorcycle. The harrowing footage, where she screamed "Don't kill me!" was widely circulated online, capturing international attention. Noa was abducted alongside her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who remains a hostage in Gaza. Her plight was particularly distressing for her Chinese-Israeli mother, who is suffering from brain cancer and had expressed deep despair over possibly never seeing her daughter again. Upon her release, Noa was seen tearfully embracing her father and later spoke with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, expressing her overwhelming happiness to be back home. This poignant moment underscored the emotional toll and the rare glimmers of hope amidst the ongoing war

Almog Meir

Almog Meir Jan, one of the four hostages rescued from Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp, was photographed with Israeli soldiers, beaming with a smile and giving two thumbs up following his rescue on Saturday. Subsequently, he was seen in a heartwarming embrace with his mother. The 22-year-old, who resides near Tel Aviv, had left a poignant voice message on his mother's phone on October 7, the day he was captured. In the message, Almog expressed his fear amid the chaos, saying, "Mum, rockets are falling everywhere. I don't know what is going on. Mum, I love you." His abduction occurred just a day before he was set to begin a new job, highlighting the abrupt and traumatic interruption of his life plans due to the conflict​

Andrey Kozlov

Andrey Kozlov, a dual Russian-Israeli citizen, was employed as a security guard at a music festival during the attack. Amidst the chaos, he managed to stay in contact with his father and friends, expressing his desperation and fear as he found himself without a safe place to hide. Born in Saint Petersburg, Kozlov had long aspired to move to Israel, a dream he realized in 2022 when he relocated to a town south of Tel Aviv. At 27 years old, he had begun building a new life in Israel, integrating into the community and pursuing his career ambitions

Shlomi Ziv

Shlomi Ziv, one of the hostages rescued from the Nuseirat refugee camp, had a remarkable and multifaceted life. At 41, he resided with his wife near the Lebanese border, where he worked as a wholesale distributor. Before his capture, Shlomi was part of the security team at the Nova music festival. On the morning of the attack, he courageously helped festival-goers escape from the violence before he was taken hostage. In a chilling moment, one of his two sisters spoke with him that morning, during which he recounted the sounds of gunfire and rocket explosions. Three years prior to his ordeal, Shlomi had decided to follow his passion for interior design, embarking on a new career path that brought him great joy and fulfillment.



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