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Israel rescues 4 hostages abducted in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack

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Israel’s military on Saturday rescued four hostages held in the central Gaza Strip in an operation that shook up cease-fire talks and left dozens of Palestinians dead or wounded, according to multiple news reports.

After an air and ground assault overwhelmed the captors in two apartment blocks in the Nuseirat section of Gaza, Israeli forces extracted the hostages and flew them by helicopter to be reunited with their families in Israel.

The freed hostages were identified as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41. They were among the 250 people kidnapped on Oct. 7 by Palestinian militants who killed about 1,200 others. The rescued hostages were in good medical condition and were transferred to a hospital in Israel for further examinations, according to Israeli authorities.

The raid roiled the Biden administration’s effort to reach a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas that would free 116 hostages abducted in October and several Palestinian prisoners. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to arrive in the Middle East to work on a deal. Blinken starting on Monday will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored a political win because of the rescue. His chief domestic rival, Benny Gantz, delayed an expected resignation from the country’s wartime unity government.

There are conflicting reports of casualties. One Israeli officer was killed. The Israeli military said about 100 Palestinians were killed or wounded including Hamas militants and civilians. Hamas claimed that at least 274 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

The U.S. military on Saturday said aid deliveries to Gaza through a temporary pier had resumed.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched near the White House on Saturday. They called for Biden to halt all military aid to Israel, and for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

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