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Israel minister says Gaza hostage rescue a 'turning point'

Israel minister says Gaza hostage rescue a 'turning point'

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. (AFP archive photo)

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met Monday with special forces who helped free two Gaza hostages in a rare rescue operation, calling it a "turning point" in the war against Hamas.

Commandos freed the two men from an apartment block in the Gaza city of Rafah in an overnight raid, more than four months after they were seized by militants during Hamas's Oct. 7 attack.

"Hamas is vulnerable and understands that we can reach every location," Gallant said, according to a video shared by his office.

"You have lifted our spirits. We aren't far from the day when there will be more operations."

He said however that "most" of the hostages still in Gaza would be brought home "by ways of agreement" and not through military action.

Gallant's upbeat assessment comes amid growing calls by Israelis for a deal to free the remaining hostages, and warnings from foreign governments and aid groups against a ground invasion of Rafah.

The health ministry in Gaza said around 100 people were killed in heavy air strikes that accompanied the overnight raid.

The widespread destruction in Gaza caused by more than four months of war since the Oct. 7 attack was a "symbol" that those who harm Israel must pay "a very heavy price," Gallant said.

Hamas's unprecedented attack left some 1,160 people dead in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Some 250 people were taken hostage, about 130 of whom are still thought to be in Gaza, although Israel believes that 29 of them are dead.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and has pounded the coastal territory ruled by the group with relentless artillery bombardment and ground operations.

More than 28,300 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, according to the Gaza health ministry.


Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met Monday with special forces who helped free two Gaza hostages in a rare rescue operation, calling it a "turning point" in the war against Hamas.

Commandos freed the two men from an apartment block in the Gaza city of Rafah in an overnight raid, more than four months after they were seized by militants during...