Israel rescues hostages from Gaza, leaving trail of death and destruction

Israel rescues hostages from Gaza, leaving trail of death and destruction

The Washington Post reports:

Israel’s military staged a blistering operation to rescue four hostages from the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead or wounded in its wake and marking a much-needed political victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under both domestic and international pressure to wind down the nine-month-long war.

The Israel Defense Forces said it retrieved Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; Shlomi Ziv, 40; and Noa Argamani, who turned 26 in captivity, from two separate locations in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in central Gaza. All four were “in good medical condition” and transferred to hospitals for examination, the IDF said.

The raid, a brazen assault in broad daylight, sparked joy among Israelis who have grown increasingly impatient with stalled negotiations to reach a cease-fire with Hamas militants. It was the largest hostage operation of the war.

Videos and images from Nuseirat as the operation unfolded showed tanks in the streets, punishing airstrikes and grievously injured Palestinians arriving at the area’s overwhelmed hospitals.

“Israel committed a massacre in Nuseirat,” Khalil al-Degran, spokesman for al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, said at a news conference Saturday. “There are still a lot of dead and injured in the streets.”

Degran and other health officials said Saturday that 210 people had been killed and 400 others wounded in the operation in Nuseirat. The number of dead included 94 at al-Aqsa Hospital and 116 at the nearby al-Awda Hospital, according to Degran and Marwan Abu Nasser, administrative director at al-Awda. [Continue reading…]

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