Netanyahu says Israel won't 'surrender' after hostages rescued

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu waits for the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting also attended by the US President, in Tel Aviv on 18 October, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.AFP

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Israel does not surrender to terrorism" after troops on Saturday rescued four hostages alive who were held by militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's army earlier named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv.

Netanyahu said that his security forces "have proven that Israel does not surrender to terrorism".

All four were kidnapped by Hamas militants from the Nova music festival on 7 October, the military said in a statement.

The four had been taken to hospital and were in "good medical condition", it added.

Speaking after the operation in the situation room Netanyahu said: "We will not let go until we complete the mission and return all our hostages home -- both the living and the dead."

Netanyahu's office also released a video of him speaking with Argamani on a mobile telephone.

She said she was "very excited" to return home, adding: "I haven't spoken Hebrew in such a long time." Netanyahu told her: "We didn't give up on you for one moment."

During their 7 October attack on southern Israel, militants took 251 hostages, 116 of whom now remain in the Palestinian territory, including 41 the army says are dead.

The 7 October attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory bombardments and ground offensive on Gaza have killed 36,801 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

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