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4 Hostages Rescued

One of the most complicated hostage rescue missions in History - June 8

Hen Mazzig


The operation to rescue the hostages from Nusayrat was named "Summer Seeds" and is defined by the IDF as one of the most complex ever for hostage rescue. The hostages were held in a heavily civilian populated area, above ground, in buildings of 3-4 stories. The forces stormed the two separate targets where the hostages were held, with Noa held on the first floor and Andrey, Shlomi, and Almog on the third floor of another building, hundreds of meters apart. Hamas moved the four hostages from apartment to apartment, and the concern was that if the forces only stormed one building, the terrorists would escape with the hostages in the second building. The Air Force gathered intelligence from the air in the last few days, and the IDF and Shin Bet created conditions to reach the targets without the terrorists shooting the hostages first, which was key to the operation's success. The models built by the Yamam (Israel's counter-terrorism unit) reminded senior military officials of the models established for the Entebbe operation, with buildings, streets, and small areas for practice. The main problem was in the apartment where Andrey, Almog, and Shlomi were held, and where Yamam fighter Arnon Zamora was killed. The rescue took place under heavy fire, and during the disengagement, dozens of terrorists with RPGs and machine guns ran through the alleys towards the targets. As a result, uninvolved Gazan civilians were also killed in the dense fire exchange. The military said, "The difference between success and failure in such an operation is a hair's breadth, and we relied on exceptional technology from the Intelligence and Shin Bet. Without ground activity and maneuvering in the Gazan area, it would not have been possible to succeed in such operations." The IDF also noted that the rescue was made possible by Commander Zamora's heroism. "Shin Bet and Intelligence Directorate fighters entered the lion's den in the refugee camp and dismantled houses in areas where we hadn't maneuvered," they said. "This is bravery on the level of Judah Maccabee. The operation was planned for weeks with drills, rescue plans, and fires executed, alongside scenarios of cases and responses." The forces simultaneously broke into the two houses with special weapons developed for the operation. Immediately after extracting the hostages, the forces began to withdraw while fighting dozens of terrorists, but a vehicle with the three hostages got stuck and came under heavy fire. Division 98 forces jumped in to assist in the vehicle rescue battle, and rescue helicopters entered deep into the strip in daylight. Three brigades participated in the rescue battle, during which Zamora was also evacuated to the hospital: Brigade 7, Paratroopers, and Kfir with Flotilla 13, along with other special forces. "The fire plan that was executed was focused but extremely powerful," the IDF added. "The cooperation with Shin Bet and Yamam rose to several levels into a single operational system, under the direction of the Shin Bet chief and the Chief of Staff. Four keys to the operation: deception, surprise, determination, and power." To maintain the secrecy of the operation, thousands of soldiers in the brigades that participated in the rescue were unaware of the nature of the operation before it happened to preserve the element of surprise. Only a handful of commanders were exposed to the operation yesterday, at various levels. These forces were positioned at the correct launch points without revealing the secret. During the operation, soldiers were also lightly injured, mainly from shrapnel.

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