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Who are the 4 hostages rescued by Israeli forces from captivity in Gaza?

Israel rescues 4 hostages from Gaza
Israel rescues 4 hostages from Gaza 02:09

Four Israeli hostages taken by Hamas militants from a music festival during the group's Oct. 7 terrorist attack were rescued alive Saturday during a raid on the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza.

Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and 41-year-old Shlomi Ziv were all kidnapped at the Nova music festival. They were recovered after the IDF announced it was striking "terrorist infrastructure" in central Gaza.

A joint statement said the hostages were rescued from two different locations during the operation, and that "their medical condition is normal."

The rescue operation came amid a major Israeli air and ground offensive in central Gaza that has killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians, including at least 94 on Saturday.

Hamas and other militants killed some 1,200 people in the Oct. 7 attack and captured around 250 others, including men, women, children and older adults. More than 100, mostly women and children, were freed in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire last year.

Over 36,700 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, according to local health officials, who do not distinguish between fighters and civilians.

Israeli authorities believe the militants are still holding around 120 hostages, with 43 believed to be dead. Survivors include about 15 women, two children under the age of 5 and two men in their 80s.

Here is everything we know of the four freed captives.

Noa Argamani

whatsapp-image-2024-06-08-at-15-06-07.jpg
Noa Argamani is among four Israeli hostages that were rescued by Israeli forces from Gaza on Saturday, June 8 2024. IDF Handout

The 26-year-old Argamani has emerged as an icon of the agonizing hostage crisis that is still far from over. She appeared in a series of videos that captured the painful trajectory of their plight.

In the first, filmed by the attackers, she is being forced onto a motorbike by several men after being seized with her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, whose whereabouts are still unknown. "Don't kill me!" she screamed with one arm outstretched, the other pinned down.

In another video released by Hamas in mid-January, she appeared gaunt and spoke — almost certainly under duress — of other hostages being killed in airstrikes months into Israel's massive offensive.

And then there was a third video, she was seen in family photos in the background as her mother, a Chinese immigrant to Israel who has stage four brain cancer, pleaded with her captors to release her only child so she could see her before she dies.

"I want to see her one more time. Talk to her one more time," Liora Argamani, 61, said. "I don't have a lot of time left in this world."

Argamani's father told Army Radio the reunion with her mother "very difficult" as Liora was "just unable to express her feelings and could not say what she was really waiting to say to Noa."

Argamani began dating Or about two years ago after they met while attending Ben-Gurion University in her hometown of Beersheba and were planning to move in together in Tel Aviv, his mother told Israel's Ynet news website. She said her son had majored in electrical engineering and had been hired by the international tech giant Nvidia.

Yonatan Levi, a friend of Argamani, told The Associated Press that she is a smart, free spirit who loved parties and traveling and was studying computer science. He said he had met her at a diving course in the Israeli city of Eilat on the Red Sea, and that a few months before her abduction she had asked him for help navigating insurance claims for her mother's care.

Almog Meir Jan

Israel Palestinians
This undated photo provided by the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows Almog Meir Jan. Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP

A 22-year-old from a small town near Tel Aviv, Meir Jan had finished his army service three months before the attack at the music festival, according to the Times of Israel, an English-language Israeli website. A forum set up by families of the hostages said he was supposed to start a job at a tech company the day after the attack.

Meir Jan's aunt, Dina, said his father had died on Friday, hours before the operation. "My brother died of grief, and he didn't get to see Almog return," she told Israel's Kan public broadcaster.

Andrey Kozlov

Israel Palestinians
This undated photo provided by the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows Andrey Kozlov. Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP

The 27-year-old Kozlov was working as a security guard at the festival. He had immigrated from Russia to Israel alone a year and a half earlier, and his mother came to the country after Oct. 7, Israeli media reported.

In a phone call with Israel's President Isaac Herzog after his release, Kozlov spoke a mixture of English and Hebrew. He joked that his Hebrew had gotten better in captivity, saying, "I had a lot of practice with my new friends," referring to his fellow hostages.

Shlomi Ziv

Israel Palestinians
This undated photo provided by the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows Shlomi Ziv. Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP

Ziv is from a farming community in northern Israel and was working as an usher and had gone to the music festival with two friends who were both killed, the Times of Israel reported. The Israel Hayom newspaper said the 41-year-old and his wife of 17 years had been trying to have children.

Haley Ott contributed to this report.

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the ages of Argamani, Meir Jan and Ziv, who marked birthdays in captivity. The army had earlier provided their ages when they were abducted. 

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