An Al Jazeera journalist is said to have held three hostages for Hamas in his own house. This is reported by the Israeli army (IDF). After eight months, Israeli soldiers were able to free a total of four hostages on Saturday, three of whom were said to have been in the journalist’s house: Almog Meir Jan (22), Andrey Kozlov (27) and Shlomi Ziv (40). The freelance journalist is said to have held the three men in his family’s house for months. Another hostage, 26-year-old Noa Argamani, was discovered in a house 200 meters away. In addition to the TV station, he is said to have also worked for “The Palestine Chronicle”.

Israel’s army was outraged and angry. “The ‘journalist’ Abdallah A. was a Hamas terrorist who held Almog, Andrey and Shlomi hostage in his family’s house in Nuseirat,” the army wrote. “No press vest can excuse him for the crimes he committed.” They also asked the news channel: “What is this terrorist doing on your website?”

However, the TV station denies this and says it is a lie. They do not know the man: “This man is not from Al-Jazeera, and he has not worked for Al-Jazeera, and he is not listed as working for Al-Jazeera now or in the past,” The Times of Israel quotes Omar al-Walid, head of Al-Jazeera’s Jerusalem office, as saying. “We do not know him and all the rumors that have been spread are empty and not true at all.” He adds that the network wants to sue anyone who spreads rumors that there is a connection to Abdallah A.

A press release from the broadcaster states that Abdullah A. never worked with the network, but that he “did write a commentary in 2019.” The allegations are therefore completely unfounded.

In a dramatic rescue operation in the Gaza Strip, Israeli special forces rescued the four hostages from their eight-month captivity on Saturday. They were freed in a surprise operation from two buildings in the densely populated refugee district of Nuseirat. In Israel, people enthusiastically celebrated the release of the hostages.

According to the Israeli army, the rescue team came under heavy fire from armed Palestinians and engaged in heavy fighting with them. In order to surprise the Hamas guards, the troops entered both buildings simultaneously at 11:00 a.m. local time.

The operation had been prepared for several weeks, said Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner. He spoke of a complex and risky operation by the special forces. “The key factor was the surprise attack.” An Israeli officer was killed in the operation. “Our heroic fighters stormed into the fire as one man, eliminated the terrorists and freed the hostages,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

An ambulance carrying the hostages got stuck under heavy fire, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Additional troops were then called in for reinforcements. The four hostages were eventually flown to Israel by helicopter.

According to a report in the New York Times, a team of US hostage rescue experts in Israel helped prepare the operation by providing intelligence and “other logistical support.” The newspaper cited an American source.

The fate of the young Israeli Noa Argamani, who was kidnapped from the Nova music festival, sparked great sympathy in Israel and around the world. Images of her being kidnapped by terrorists on a motorbike, crying desperately and calling for help, have been circulating on social media for months. The student’s boyfriend, who was also kidnapped, is still being held captive by Hamas. Her mother, who is from China, has terminal cancer. Her deepest wish to see her daughter again was fulfilled after her release.

Almog Meir Jan – The young man was happily embraced by family and friends after his release. What is tragic, however, is that his father was not able to witness his son’s return. According to media reports, the 57-year-old died just hours earlier and was found dead after his release. “My brother died of grief and did not see his son return,” his sister told the Kan broadcaster on Sunday.

Andrej Kozlov – The young man from Russia had recently immigrated to Israel. He worked as a security guard at the music festival from which he was kidnapped. According to media reports, his parents arrived from Russia on Sunday to see him after his release. He is also a Russian citizen.

Schlomi Ziv – The fourth freed hostage comes from a place on Israel’s border with Lebanon. According to the hostage families’ forum, he also worked as a security guard at the music festival. In his first phone call with his wife after his release, he burst into tears of relief.

This means that seven hostages have been rescued alive from the Gaza Strip by the army. Several bodies have also been recovered. Another 120 hostages remain in Hamas’s power, and it is feared that many are already dead.