Israel rescues hostages from Gaza, leaving path of demise and destruction | EUROtoday

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Israel’s army launched one of many bloodiest raids of the struggle Saturday, killing greater than 200 Palestinians in a brazen operation to rescue 4 hostages from the central Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces recovered the hostages alive from two buildings in Nuseirat, an impoverished refugee camp. But the fiery assault, in the midst of the day, left unimaginable devastation in its wake.

Residential blocks have been destroyed, tanks menaced the streets and grievously wounded Palestinians, some with out limbs, writhed in ache on the dusty roads of the camp’s central market, in accordance with movies and pictures of the raid. Many of them by no means reached native hospitals, well being officers mentioned. But even then, medical amenities decimated by the struggle usually have little capacity to deal with injured sufferers.

“Israel committed a massacre in Nuseirat,” Khalil al-Degran, spokesman for al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in close by Deir al-Balah, mentioned at a information convention Saturday. “In this terrible state … the hospital cannot absorb the number of dead and injured. The hospital has been at full capacity for weeks.”

Degran and different well being officers mentioned 210 individuals had been killed and 400 others wounded within the blitz. The variety of lifeless included 94 at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital and 116 on the close by al-Awda Hospital, in accordance with Degran and Marwan Abu Nasser, administrative director at al-Awda.


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“During the operation, helicopters targeted anyone who moved in the courtyard of al-Awda,” mentioned Rami al-Sharafi, a health care provider on the hospital. The army, he mentioned, had “prevented ambulances from leaving or returning to the hospital” whereas the raid was underway.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday praised the mission as “one of the most heroic and extraordinary operations I have witnessed over the course of 47 years serving in Israel’s defense establishment.”

The operation retrieved Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; Shlomi Ziv, 41; and Noa Argamani, 26. The 4 hostages have been kidnapped from a music competition within the Israeli desert on Oct. 7. Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel that day, killing round 1,200 individuals and kidnapping greater than 250 others to deliver again to Gaza as hostages.

Since then, Israel has launched into a harmful army marketing campaign to remove Hamas, which dominated Gaza for years. The army has laid waste to a lot of the enclave, together with its infrastructure, and restricted the circulate of meals and support, even because the inhabitants slides into famine.

In 9 months of struggle, greater than 36,800 individuals have been killed in Gaza, in accordance with the Gaza Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants however says nearly all of these killed are girls and youngsters.

“We were terrified 100 times over because of the bombing. I pray God saves us,” mentioned a displaced girl staying in Deir al-Balah, which is near Nuseirat. She spoke on the situation of anonymity out of worry for her security.

“These people are ready to burn the entire world to get someone they want,” she mentioned.

The medical system in Gaza was already on life assist, and the deluge of wounded individuals Saturday rapidly overwhelmed the hospitals. A graphic video from al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, launched by the Gaza Health Ministry, confirmed a crowded trauma bay, with our bodies laid out on a bloody ground.

Degran mentioned the hospital was functioning with just one generator and risked going out of service imminently. He appealed to close by residents to donate blood to avoid wasting the lives of these wounded within the assaults, and referred to as on the worldwide group “to intervene immediately and urgently to save the Aqsa hospital.”

But in Israel, army spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari mentioned troops had ready for weeks for the “high risk, complex mission,” which was “based on precise intelligence.”

It started at 11 a.m. native time, Hagari mentioned. Israeli forces got here beneath hearth inside the 2 buildings the place the hostages have been held and as they departed Gaza. One member of Israel’s police counterterrorism unit, Chief Inspector Arnon Zmora, was significantly injured within the combat and later died of his wounds.

“This is what we do in Israel. We risk our lives to save the lives of our hostages,” Hagari mentioned at a information convention. “While we are happy that our four hostages are home, we will not lose sight that 120 hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza — men, women, children.”

“We will not stop fighting for their freedom,” he added.

More than 100 hostages have been freed by way of negotiated releases, the overwhelming majority throughout a week-long truce in November. Talks to achieve a longer-lasting cease-fire that may deliver residence the 120 hostages believed to stay in Gaza have floundered since then. About a 3rd of these hostages have been confirmed lifeless.

Late final month, President Biden introduced a three-stage truce proposal, which he mentioned Israel supported, in an effort to stop hawkish factions of the Israeli authorities from scuttling the talks. But important daylight stays between Israel and Hamas over how and when the struggle will finish.

At a press look in France, Biden mentioned he welcomed the operation Saturday. “We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a cease-fire is reached,” he mentioned. White House nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan additionally mentioned the United States was nonetheless pushing for the cease-fire deal.

Hamas officers vowed Saturday that the raid wouldn’t power it to capitulate.

“Our people will not surrender, and the resistance will continue to defend our rights in the face of this criminal enemy,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political bureau, mentioned in a press release. “If the occupation believes that it can impose its choices on us by force, then it is delusional.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a Hamas rival that governs elements of the occupied West Bank, requested an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council to debate the operation, official media reported.

For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the raid was a home political victory. He has come beneath intense stress from hostage households and demonstrators in Israel to comply with a cope with Hamas. But his right-wing allies, who advocate for a continuation of the struggle with out pause, have vowed to tank his authorities if he reaches an settlement.

Netanyahu has sought to downplay his function in crafting the most recent cease-fire proposal. And on Saturday, opposition chief Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s struggle cupboard, postponed a speech he was meant to present, through which he was broadly anticipated to resign from the federal government.

Gantz had given Netanyahu till June 8 to formalize a plan for postwar Gaza, a territory Israel occupied from 1967 to 2005.

Instead, he praised Israeli forces for a “complicated and brave operation that was carried out in an inspiring manner.”

“Even today, my heart goes out to all the families of the abductees,” he mentioned in a press release. “We are committed to doing everything to bring them back home.”

News of the profitable rescue mission Saturday sparked pleasure and drew plaudits throughout the nation, as Israelis put aside the acrimony that has riven the nation to rejoice a uncommon victory within the nine-month-old struggle.

Thousands of protesters have crammed the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday nights in weekly — and more and more tense — shows of anger at Netanyahu’s authorities for prolonging the struggle and failing to deliver residence extra hostages. Last Saturday, greater than 100,000 Israelis turned out for the demonstration, demanding that Netanyahu settle for Biden’s deal.

Merav Svirsky, the sister of Itay Svirsky, 38, an Israeli hostage who was declared lifeless in January, urged the Israeli authorities to achieve a hostage-for-prisoners cope with Hamas.

“There have been seven hostages released in military operations so far. More than a hundred were released in the previous deal,” she mentioned at a information convention Saturday. “It is possible to return all of them only through a deal. The only way to save lives and bring everyone back, is for Israel to commit to ending the war. Make a deal!”

Parker reported from Cairo; El-Chamaa from Beirut; Rubin and Soroka from Tel Aviv. Steve Hendrix in Jerusalem, Alon Rom and Shira Rubin in Tel Aviv, Hajar Harb in London, Bryan Pietsch in Washington, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. in Paris, and Hazem Balousha and Heba Farouk Mahfouz in Cairo contributed to this report.