Oct 30, 2023 - World

Israeli military rescues soldier held hostage by Hamas in Gaza

Uri Magidish with her family after her rescue. Photo: Handout/Shin Bet press

An IDF special force and the Shin Bet intelligence agency conducted a ground operation in Gaza on Sunday night and rescued an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, the IDF and Shin Bet said in a statement.

The big picture: Pvt. Uri Magidish is the first soldier rescued by Israel since more than 235 people, including dozens of Israeli soldiers, were kidnapped and taken to Gaza on Oct. 7.

Driving the news: Magidish was a member of a unit of female soldiers that was in charge of monitoring the Gaza border via surveillance cameras that were installed on the border fence.

  • The IDF said she was in good health and met with her family.

Behind the scenes: Israeli officials told reporters Magidish was kidnapped from a military outpost near the Gaza border and photos of her capture circulated on social media on the day of the attack.

  • Israeli intelligence services have been working on the rescue operation for days and Israel's expanded ground offensive in Gaza created the operational window to rescue the soldier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
  • An Israeli official told Axios that Magidish was held in a building in a relatively remote area in the northern Gaza Strip that was guarded by two Hamas operatives.
  • Magidish had been separated from other hostages and was the only soldier in the building at the time of her rescue, according to Israeli officials.
  • The Israeli officials refused to give more details about the operation, claiming it could harm other rescue missions.

Between the lines: The IDF kept the operation secret for many hours including after the soldier was reunited with her family.

  • The operation was revealed several hours after Hamas released a video of three of the hostages it is holding.
  • Israeli defense officials claimed Hamas released the video as a response to the rescue of the soldier in an attempt to control the narrative.
  • Hamas didn't say why it released the video and it hasn't commented on Israel's recuse of Magidish.

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