Crisis within the Middle East: Israel needs to see hostages – however Hamas solely needs to ship corpses | EUROtoday

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DThe mission was so secret that not even all of the troopers knew what the purpose was. On the morning of June 8, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the heads of the home intelligence service Shin Bet and the military crowded right into a command room. Monitors confirmed stay feeds from an 800-meter-long stretch of highway within the Nuseirat refugee camp within the Gaza Strip. At precisely 11 a.m., Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar gave the sign: “Go!”

What adopted was one of many riskiest operations in Israel's historical past. At 12:20 p.m., the dad and mom of hostage Noa Argamani, 26, had been knowledgeable that their daughter was free. Soon after, the kinfolk of Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Schlomi Ziv, 41, had been notified. And then all of Israel: Four hostages who had been held captive by Hamas for months are again dwelling.

The pictures went world wide. And with them the query: What concerning the remaining hostages? Are they nonetheless alive? Where is Hamas holding them captive? And: Can additionally they be freed?

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Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip in mid-May

To perceive this, it’s a must to have a look at what occurred that Saturday morning – and within the weeks earlier than. One one who led such operations is Avi Kalo. The 47-year-old was commander of the hostage rescue unit of the Israeli army intelligence service and a member of the negotiation workforce for 20 years.

“This was the most intensive intelligence-based hostage rescue operation ever conducted in Israel, and probably the most intensive ever – in such a short time frame of several weeks of planning,” says Kalo. Israel, with the assist of the US and Britain, has been looking for clues as to the place the hostages are being held. Using drones, satellites, data from forces on the bottom, intercepted messages, interrogations of captured Hamas terrorists, clues from objects and paperwork discovered within the tunnels below Gaza.

Noa Argamani shortly after her liberation from Gaza

Noa Argamani shortly after her liberation from Gaza

Quelle: Israel Presidential Press Office by way of REUTERS

From such fragments, an image is regularly being put collectively of the place the remaining hostages are. The data is usually patchy. Sometimes there is a sign {that a} specific hostage continues to be alive, typically a sign of which terrorist cell is holding the hostage captive. This doesn’t but reveal the placement. But maybe an thought of ​​which a part of the Gaza Strip the search ought to be intensified.

On May 12, in response to the British newspaper “Jewish Chronicle” citing Israeli safety forces, Israel obtained data that 4 hostages had been being held within the space of ​​the Nuseirat refugee camp. From then on, all intelligence departments targeted on the placement. A workforce of “Mista'arvim” was reportedly despatched. This is the identify of particular forces who converse fluent Palestinian Arabic with an area dialect.

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An activist from the Tsav-9 initiative is carried away by Israeli security forces after protests at the Gaza border crossing

The Israelis allegedly posed as residents of Rafah, fleeing the Israeli offensive within the south of the Gaza Strip. They mingled with the locals and started to scout the realm. This enabled the Mista'arvim to find out the hiding place the place Hamas was holding the 4 hostages: Noa Argamani on the primary flooring of a residential constructing. The three male hostages in a second, close by constructing on the third flooring.

To be on the protected facet, extra groups had been despatched to Nuseirat. They included girls wearing hijabs and lengthy black clothes. They arrived in outdated automobiles loaded with home items and mattresses. According to the Jewish Chronicle, they posed as two displaced households and rented a home on the identical avenue the place the hostages had been. The particular forces settled in and went purchasing on the native market in order to not arouse suspicion. After just a few days, they started to research the placement of the flats extra intently.

The second operation escalated

The spies confirmed the areas of the 4 hostages. Then coaching for the mission started. Special forces constructed fashions that resembled the buildings the place the hostages had been hiding. For three days, fighters from the Yamam unit, which makes a speciality of releasing hostages, practiced the rescue operation, which was sophisticated by an extra issue: to attain the best attainable shock impact, they had been imagined to storm the buildings in daylight. Normally, such harmful operations are launched below cowl of night time.

While the commanders waited for the best second, army excavators cleared the streets round Nuseirat in order that the particular forces' automobiles may go freely. When the sign got here, the particular forces stormed each buildings concurrently. In the command room, the chiefs of employees adopted the motion by way of drones and stay feeds from the troopers' helmet cameras.

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The first operation went in response to plan: the models managed to shock the guards. Within six minutes, 26-year-old Noa was free of the residence unhurt and brought to a helicopter that flew her to the hospital in Tel Aviv.

The second operation, nevertheless, escalated. Soldiers used a ladder to get into the room the place the three male hostages had been being held. The different forces stormed the stairwell into the residence the place dozens of males had been staying. The terrorists instantly opened hearth.

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Yamam commander Arnon Zamora was hit. The forces managed to get the three hostages and the critically injured commander right into a car, nevertheless it was too badly broken by Hamas shelling to flee. The group took refuge in a close-by constructing and requested air assist. Explosions shook the densely packed streets in Nuseirat.

The particular forces managed to get to the seashore with the hostages. A second helicopter was ready there. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, Commander Zamora was declared useless. According to Hamas, greater than 270 Palestinians had been killed within the operation. Israel says it is aware of of about 100.

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Noa Argamani with her father Yaakov

“Of course there could be more rescue operations like this, we hope so,” says hostage skilled Kalo. But he additionally says: “They cannot replace the only solution we have to bring all the hostages home. And that is a hostage agreement.”

The USA is presently mediating between Israel and Hamas once more. They have put ahead a plan that Netanyahu has hesitantly agreed to. Hamas is resisting. It is demanding that Israel withdraw utterly from the Gaza Strip as a precondition – a no-go for Netanyahu's hard-line authorities. Israel needs to see hostages earlier than agreeing to a ceasefire. But Hamas solely needs to ship corpses for now.

Sinwar delays the deal

What provides little hope is that the terrorist group claims that it doesn’t understand how most of the remaining 116 hostages are nonetheless alive. It is assumed that many died in captivity. There isn’t any official data on what number of hostages are alive.

An Israeli negotiator just lately instructed the French information company AFP that “there are certainly dozens alive.” The official, who requested to not be recognized, added: “We cannot leave them there for long. They will die.”

According to Kalo's evaluation, Hamas chief Yahya al-Sinwar is delaying a deal. “Why? Because time is playing into his hands.” The battle between Israel and Iran's allies is escalating increasingly, such because the one with Hezbollah in Lebanon. “That is Sinwar's vision,” says Kalo: “Not just a local conflict between Hamas and Israel – he wants to ignite a war in the entire region. And he sees his vision becoming reality step by step. So why should he agree to an agreement now?”

Avi Kalo is the former commander of the Israeli hostage rescue unit

Avi Kalo is the previous commander of the Israeli hostage rescue unit

Quelle: Aloni Mor, Maariv

The Wall Street Journal just lately revealed a report based mostly on dozens of messages from Sinwar. According to the report, the calculation behind his rejection of the deal is that extra deaths among the many Palestinian civilian inhabitants will improve worldwide stress on Israel to make concessions to Hamas. “We have the Israelis exactly where we want them,” Sinwar mentioned in a message to Hamas representatives.

Meanwhile, in Israel, freed hostages have joined the protests for a deal. Andrey Kozlov despatched a transparent message to the Netanyahu authorities: “For the hostages who are still in Gaza, there is one decision, only one, and that is an agreement between Israel and Hamas.”

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https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article252144716/Krise-in-Nahost-Israel-will-Geiseln-sehen-Doch-die-Hamas-will-nur-Leichen-schicken.html