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Israel releases footage of rescue mission as commandos radioed ‘the diamonds have departed’ after saving hostages

THIS is the moment the freed Israeli hostages were transferred from the Yaman counter-terrorist unit and ISA forces to the IDF.

Israeli forces launched a large-scale rescue mission, known as the “Arnon” Operation, to rescue four hostages who were being held by Hamas operatives.

Israeli troops are seen leaving an armoured vehicle at the start of the ‘Arnon’ Operation[/caption]
A freed hostage is led away by IDF forces to a waiting helicopter[/caption]
Another freed hostages follows on behind, also helped by the IDF[/caption]
An army helicopter then takes off from a makeshift helipad and heads for Israel[/caption]

The Paratrooper Reconnaissance Unit Combat Team led the rescue of the hostages and the Yamam and ISA forces continued to battle terrorists in Gaza after coming under fire.

The four hostages freed were: Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

The footage shows two of the former hostages being helped away by IDF forces.

All four had been taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 last year, when the terror group launched a brutal attack on the Nova music festival in Israel.

In other footage from yesterday’s rescue operation in central Gaza’s Nuseirat, Southern Command chief Major General Yaron Finkelman is seen notifying the IDF chief of staff that three of the four hostages had been freed.

He said in Hebrew: “Chief of staff I want to report to you that the three diamonds have departed [by helicopter] from the helipad just now toward the country,”

The three hostages referred to were Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv.

Noa had been rescued from a separate building in the area.

The hostages were taken to a makeshift helipad in Gaza and then airlifted to Israel.

The Israeli military said its forces came under heavy fire during the complex daytime operation deep in central Gaza.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said today at least 274 Palestinians, including dozens of children, were killed, and hundreds more were wounded, in the Israeli mission.

That figure has not been independently verified and the Ministry did not say how many of those killed or wounded were Hamas terrorists.

The operation in Nuseirat was the largest rescue since October 7, when Hamas and other militants stormed across the border, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 hostages.

A relative of Noa told reporters that the military had banged on the door of where she was being held in Gaza and yelled they had come to rescue her.

Asaf Shaibi said: “She told me a little. It was 10am and they banged on the door and shouted ‘It’s the IDF and we’ve come to rescue you’.

He added: “She is strong. She has met with her family and the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu].”

Officers from the elite police counter-terrorism unit Yamam along with Shin Bet agents simultaneously raided two buildings in the heart of central Gaza.

The raid is said to be one of the deadliest carried out by Israel since the war started.

The three diamonds have departed

Major General Yaron Finkelman

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said their forces came under heavy fire during the rescue mission.

Commandos working to save the hostages responded by firing “from the air and from the street”, he said.

Hagari said: “We know about under 100 [Palestinian] casualties. I don’t know how many of them are terrorists.”

The IDF has said that the four hostages were being held by terrorists in the homes of Gaza families in two Hamas-controlled buildings.

Hamas has previously been accused of using civilians as human shields.

Noa Argamani is reunited with her dad Yaakov[/caption]
Noa Argamani meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu[/caption]
Freed hostage Shlomi Ziv, centre, also met the Israeli PM[/caption]
Noa smiles as she’s hugged by her dad after she was rescued by Israeli special forces[/caption]
Noa became one of the most recognisable faces of October 7
Gunmen trapped her on a motorcycle after attacking revellers at the event
Gunmen trapped Noa on a motorcycle after attacking revellers at the music festival

An Israeli special forces commander was killed during the operation, a police statement said.

Gazan paramedics and residents said the assault killed scores of people and left mangled bodies of men, women and children strewn around a marketplace and a mosque.

Noa’s plight became one of the most harrowing and recognisable images as the world came to terms with the atrocity on October 7.

She was seen being loaded onto a motorbike as she pleaded with them “don’t kill me”.


She and the other three hostages had spent 245 days in captivity since being kidnapped eight months ago.

 Hours after being rescued from eight months captivity in Gaza, freed hostage Noa Argamani arrived at a hospital in Tel Aviv to see her terminally ill mother.

Who are the four freed hostages?

Noa Argamani

The student was at the Nova music festival in the Israeli dessert when she was kidnapped by Hamas fighters.

Harrowing footage emerged  of the militants dragging her away on a motorcycle as she begged “Don’t kill me”.

The 25-year-old university student screams “Don’t kill me! No, no, no”, as the gunmen speed away with her trapped in between them.

Her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, is held tightly by two other terrorists nearby as he watches his helpless girlfriend in horror.

Noa’s family only discovered she had been taken when they stumbled upon the disturbing footage online.

Almog Meir Jan

The 21-year-old was also attending the Nova music festival on October 7 when he was seized.

His mum, Orit, said in an interview he had been due to start a new job in Israel’s “high-tech” sector on October 8.

Almog had been attending the music festival with a friend who was killed and later burned.

Orit said her son had called her at 7.45pm on October 7 to tell her the festival had been stopped and he would call her back every hour – but he never phoned again.

One of his pals is said to have identified Almog in a video clip published by Hamas several hours later.

Andrey Kozlov

The 27-year-old was working as security guard at the music festival on October 7 when he was kidnapped.

He is a native of St Petersburg, Russia, according to the Times of Israel, and had moved to Israel 18 months earlier.

Andrey lived near Tel Aviv with friends before his capture.

Shlomi Ziv

The 40-year-old was also working as a security guard at the Nova music festival.

He spoke to one of his sisters, telling her he was heading home from the festival after the Hamas attack had started.

Shlomi told her there was a bottleneck of cars, according to a Times of Israel report.

He had been at the event with a friend and relative of his wife.

Both died in the massacre.

It was several weeks before his family knew he had been taken hostage.

Argamani was one of the most recognised faces among the hostages abducted by Hamas.

Harrowing footage of her being taken into Gaza on the back of a motorcycle, pleading for her life and reaching desperately towards her boyfriend being marched alongside her on foot circulated across the globe.

Argamani’s boyfriend Avinatan Or is still in captivity.

“I’m so happy to be here,” she said in a phone call with Israel’s president upon her return, smiling and surrounded by friends and family.

She was later met with cheers upon arrival at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre where her mother, Liora, was being treated for terminal brain cancer.

Half of hamas WIPED OUT since October 7

By Jessica Baker, Foreign News Reporter

RUTHLESS militant group Hamas has lost half its members since it began its assault on Israel and murdered 1,200 civilians on October 7.

The terrorist organisation has reportedly been left with no choice but to rely on hit-and-run insurgent tactics to fend off Israeli forces.

Hamas, which rules the densely-populated enclave of Gaza, has been reduced to between 9,000 and 12,000 fighters, according to three senior US officials familiar with battlefield developments.

The group was estimated to have had 20,000 to 25,000 members before it launched its unprecedented attack on Israel last year.

Members of the terror group are now largely relying on ambushes and improvised bombs to hit Israeli targets instead of engaging in sustained battles with Israeli forces.

The shift in tactics comes as Israel’s military closes in on Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza near the border of Egypt where Israel says Hamas militants have been hiding.

Terrorists are believed by Israel to be trying to conceal themselves among civilians, seeking shelter in places such as schools.

Back in October, shortly after her daughter was abducted from a music festival turned killing field in southern Israel, Liora, sitting in a wheelchair, was asked in an interview with a local television station how she imagined their reunion.

“At least to be able to hug her,” Liora answered.

Hospital CEO Ronni Gamzu said the mother’s condition was “complicated and tough”.

He said Argamani was able to communicate with her mother, who they believe understood that her daughter had come home.

“For the last eight months we are trying to keep her in a status that she can communicate,” Gamzu said.

Argamani’s father, Yaakov, first met her after a military helicopter carried her back to Israel.

“Today is my birthday, and a gift like this I never believed I would get,” he said.

More than 360 people were killed during the rampage at the Nova dance festival, and another 40 were taken hostage by Hamas, according to Israeli tallies.

Nearby the hospital in central Tel Aviv, at what has become known as hostage square, thousands of Israelis rallied to commemorate the rescue of the four hostages and to demand the release of more than 115 that remain in Gaza.

Earlier today, the Chief of the General Staff LTG Herzi Halevi conducted a tour in the eastern region of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip.

He said: “Bringing home the hostages is a mission. It involves returning both the living and the fallen for burial in Israel.

“Dismantling Hamas is crucial to prevent another October 7th.

“Retrieving the hostages is our moral obligation, which we are committed to achieving.

“Yesterday, we completed a significant part of this mission. However, there is much more to be done.”

Andrey Kozlov was one of the four hostages freed by IDF forces[/caption]
The moment hostage Noa was reunited with her dad Yaakov after being taken hostage on October 7
Noa will be reunited with her mum Liora who has brain cancer
Shlomi Ziv, 40, was also rescued after being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7[/caption]
Shlomi Ziv, a rescued hostage embraces his sister, Revital Nasi, and his cousin, Liat Ariel[/caption]
Hostage Almog Meir Jan reacts with a thumbs up after being rescued by the IDF[/caption]
Almog Meir Jan being greeted by his family after being freed[/caption]
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