Israeli special forces dressed as Palestinian refugees for hostage rescue: Sources

They were disguised as Palestinian refugees looking for a place to live.

June 10, 2024, 6:16 PM

Israeli special forces were disguised as Palestinian refugees looking for a place to live when they entered the buildings where hostages were being held during the Israeli rescue operation this weekend, two Israeli security sources told ABC News.

Special forces were already in position near the buildings where the hostages were being held before they were given the "go" command by Israeli forces, the sources added.

The "go" command was given Saturday at 11 a.m. local time, sources said.

The helicopters carrying the hostages and wounded police officers landed at Sheba Medical Center in Israel starting at 12:15 p.m. local time and the last helicopter landed at 12:45 p.m. local time.

PHOTO: Shlomi Ziv, a rescued hostage embraces his loved ones, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip, in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 8, 2024.
Shlomi Ziv, a rescued hostage embraces his loved ones, after the military said that Israeli forces have rescued four hostages alive from the central Gaza Strip, in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 8, 2024.
Israeli Defense Forces via Reuters

The Shin Bet, Israel's internal security forces, Israel Defense Forces and Israeli SWAT team members, called YAMAM, participated in the rescue operation, now called "Operation Arnon" by the Israeli military. The name of the operation was given to honor the one security officer who was killed during the operation.

The rescued hostages -- Almog Meir Jan, 21; Noa Argamani, 25; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40 -- had all been abducted from the Nova music festival in Israel on Oct. 7.

PHOTO: Combination picture shows the four people that were taken hostage by Hamas and were rescued by the Israeli forces alive from the central Gaza Strip
A combination picture shows (clockwise from top left) former hostages Almog Meir Jan, Noa Argamani, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv who were held by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza and rescued more than eight months later in a special operation by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, after their arrival in Ramat Gan, Israel, on June 8, 2024.
Israeli Army Handout via Reuters

They were in "good medical condition" when they were rescued, IDF officials said.

Physically the hostages were "in less severe condition" than the Israeli hospital and doctors treating the hostages "prepared for," Professor Itai Pessach, head of the medical team who has been taking care of the hostages at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, told ABC News' Tom Soufi Burridge on Monday.

"They've endured physical, abuse. Throughout the period," Pessach told ABC News. "They underwent continuous, psychological abuse."

The hostages were rescued from two separate locations in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, the IDF said. The three male hostages were rescued from one location, and Argamani was rescued from a separate location. That camp has become home to thousands of refugees who've fled fighting throughout Gaza.

Officials with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday that at least 274 Palestinians had been killed during the IDF operation in Nuseirat and 698 people were injured.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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