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Days Later, Israelis Still Rejoicing, Savoring Return of the Hostages, Code-Named 'Diamonds'

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israelis are still rejoicing over the weekend rescue of four hostages in Gaza.

The hostages, code-named "Diamonds," brought the first really good news in a long time.

As they returned to Israel and reunited with family members, hugs, tears, and an eager audience awaited these "Diamonds – Noa Agamani, Almog Meir Jan, Shlomi Ziv, and Andrey Kozlov – upon their arrival at Sheba Medical Center.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked, "Israel just carried out a remarkable rescue operation of four hostages held by Hamas. This operation required ingenuity and courage of the highest degree, and our soldiers performed in an unmatchable way."

Israeli forces rescued them from two separate apartments in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in central Gaza. Many compared it to the 1976 rescue of 102 hostages at Uganda's Entebbe Airport following the hijacking of a plane by Palestinian and German terrorists.

This time, forces simultaneously stormed the buildings, rescuing Agamani from one and the three men from the other.

They are now recovering from their eight-month ordeal.


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Dr. Itai Pessach of the Sheba Medical Center examined the four and stated, "They are very, very happy, and very communicative. They want to talk, they want to share their experience. They are very excited to meet family members and friends that they have not seen, but gradually and slowly, the very difficult and hard stories of the time they spent in captivity start to come out."

Israelis celebrated as news spread from the beach where lifeguards announced the operation, then spread across the country to the world.

Noa Argamanis is well-known from the terrifying video of her capture on October 7th. Her father Yaakov thanked God and celebrated her release on his birthday.

 "After 8 months of being apart from Noa, Noa has returned, and therefore I wish to say, 'Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion,' the elder Argamani declared. "I want to thank each and every one of you – the president, the prime minister, everyone – each and every person."

Within hours of her arrival, Argamani traveled to another hospital to visit her mother who is suffering from brain cancer. Fearing she might not see Noa again, Liora Argamani had appealed to Hamas for her daughter's release.

The three men were kept together in the home of a medical doctor, Ahmed al-Jam. His son worked as a journalist, which included time with Al Jazeera, a Qatari-based television network.

Avram Meir, uncle of Almog Meir Jan, told reporters, "We are excited and very happy. We thank the IDF for a brilliant operation. We want all the other hostages to come back with the deal. We need the deal to bring everybody back."

Sadly, Almog's father died of a heart attack hours before his son arrived home.

Andrey Kozlov immigrated alone to Israel from Russia less than two years ago. His parents flew in to be with their son.

One of the heroes of the rescue, Arnon Zamora, head of the unit that led the operation, died from wounds sustained in the battle for the three men.

In addition to the rescue, Zamora, a husband and father of two, had already been hailed as a hero on October 7th, when he and his men saved the community of Yad Mordechai from the terrorist invasion.

The government renamed the Gaza rescue event "Operation Arnon" after Zamora.

There still are an estimated 120 hostages held by Hamas; about 80 of them are believed to be alive.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and