Sat. Jun 15th, 2024
alert-–-eu’s-top-diplomat-josep-borrell-slams-‘another-massacre-of-civilians’-in-gaza-amid-israeli-rescue-operation-that-freed-noa-argamani-and-three-other-hostages-and-saw-dozens-of-palestinians-killedAlert – EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell slams ‘another massacre of civilians’ in Gaza amid Israeli rescue operation that freed Noa Argamani and three other hostages and saw dozens of Palestinians killed

EU foreign minister Josep Borrell has slammed the ‘massacre’ of Palestinian civilians following an Israeli hostage rescue operation on Saturday that freed Noa Argamani and left dozens of Gazans dead. 

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Borrell called Israel’s operation ‘appalling’ following reports of 270 Palestinian deaths, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which if confirmed, would make it one of the deadliest days of the ongoing conflict so far.

‘Reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians are appalling. We condemn this in the strongest terms’, he commented, adding that ‘this bloodbath must end immediately’.  

This comes after Israel on Saturday conducted a fearless raid of two Hamas buildings in Gaza to rescue four hostages taken by terrorists on October 7, in which they were able to extract them via helicopter whilst taking fire from militants. 

‘Operation Seeds of Summer’ is Israel’s largest rescue mission since the Hamas war began.

Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, were rescued following the daring operation, the largest of its kind since the war with Hamas began.

The hostages had been held in captivity for 245 days after being abducted from the Nova music festival during Hamas’ October 7 attack that sparked the war. 

They were then reunited with loved ones in emotional scenes at a hospital in Tel Aviv. 

Borrell had earlier taken to X to celebrate the release of the four captives, saying: ‘Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv are free and safe today. We share the relief of their families and call for the release of all the remaining hostages.’

But serious questions have been raised over the human cost of the rescue mission. 

Borrell called on US President Joe Biden’s ceasefire and hostage release plan, commenting that it was ‘the way forward for an enduring ceasefire and to end the killing’.  

While it is unclear how many killed after Israel’s operations were civilians, horrific images from the aftermath of a gun battle during the raid in the Nuseirat area show scores of dead and wounded women and children on the streets.

The terror group claims that the fatalities include three other hostages, one of whom holds US citizenship – which the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) dismissed as a ‘blatant lie’. 

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that military intelligence determined some time ago that the hostages were being held in two apartments, about 200 meters away from each other, in the heart of the Nuseirat camp.

Hagari estimated the number of casualties from the operation were under 100. 

Hamas took some 250 hostages during the Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people. About half were released in a week-long cease-fire in November.

About 120 hostages remain, with 43 pronounced dead. Survivors include about 15 women, two children under 5 and two men in their 80s.

Israelis have celebrated the latest return of hostages on Saturday night. 

Among the rescued is Noa Argamani, who had become the face of the October 7 massacre after a video emerged of her screaming ‘don’t kill me’ as she was kidnapped from a music festival by Hamas terrorists on motorbikes.  

In January, Hamas released a chilling video of Noa from captivity and apparently under duress, calling on Netanyahu to ‘please stop the war’ and ‘bring us home’.

Emotional scenes showed Noa, 26, reunited with her father on his birthday – the first time in more than half a year that they had seen each other since her capture from the Supernova Music Festival. 

Following her release, Noa was pictured enjoying a Coca Cola with her father, and filmed receiving phone calls from President Isaac Herzog and Netanyahu.

‘I am so happy to be here,’ she said in her call with Herzog in a video distributed by his office.

‘Thank you for everything, thank you for this moment,’ she said, sitting with her father in a hospital room.

In another video, speaking on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Noa said, ‘I am very moved. I haven’t heard Hebrew for so long.’

She was also reunited with her mother, Liora Argamani, who has stage four cancer. 

She was kidnapped along with her boyfriend Avinatan Or from the Supernova festival on the morning of October 7. Her boyfriend is still believed to remain in captivity.

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