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Hamas guards reportedly ordered to kill hostages if IDF rescue attempt detected

Demonstrators hold images of five female IDF soldiers held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, as they protest calling for the release of all hostages held in the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, May 25, 2024. (Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90)

The leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas reportedly told their operatives guarding Israeli hostages that "if they think Israeli forces are coming, the first thing they should do is shoot the captives,” The New York Times reported on Monday, citing Israeli officials.

The NYT report comes just two days after Israeli special forces rescued four Israeli hostages – Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir Jan (21), Andrei Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40) – in a daring daytime raid in the Nuseirat neighborhood in central Gaza.

The successful rescue operation was named “Operation Arnon” to honor the IDF counterterrorism elite soldier, Arnon Zamora, who was fatally wounded in the battle with Hamas terrorists during the raid.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obaida claimed that three other Israeli hostages were killed during the raid, however, IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner quickly denied that Israeli forces had killed any hostages during the rescue operation, calling it “a blatant lie.”

An unnamed Israeli official told the New York Times that if any Israeli hostages were killed during the raid, “it might have been at the hand of the [terrorists], not because of an Israeli airstrike.”

Hamas chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has allegedly spread out the hostages across multiple locations to deliberately make rescue operations more difficult for IDF troops.

The four hostages rescued on Saturday were allegedly held in two separate buildings approximately 200 meters (650 feet) apart. Israeli counterterrorism strategists reportedly decided to send troops simultaneously to both locations due to fears that Hamas terrorists could potentially murder some of the hostages if finding out about a rescue operation in the other building.

While Israeli forces have successfully degraded much of Hamas’ military capabilities and eliminated some 15,000 terrorists since the invasion and attack on Oct. 7, Israel has so far not been able to reach Sinwar. He and other top Hamas officials in Gaza are believed to be hiding below ground somewhere in the vast tunnel network.

The NYT report noted that a “small group of hostages” may be serving as human shields for Sinwar, making the situation significantly more complicated for Israeli forces to target him.

In February, Israeli special forces rescued the Israeli hostages Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Norberto Louis Har (70). Both men were being held by Hamas terrorists in Rafah, located in southern Gaza.

The common denominator for the success of both Israeli rescue operations is that the hostages were being held captive in buildings above ground. Israeli officials are reportedly concerned that many of the remaining 120 hostages are being held in tunnels beneath Gaza.

Terrorists from Hamas and allied organizations kidnapped over 250 Israelis and foreign nationals on Oct. 7.

In November, 105 hostages were released as part of a Qatari-mediated deal. Of the 120 hostages believed to be currently in Gaza, the IDF estimates that only 88 of them are alive.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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