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Israel Forces Free Female Soldier Taken Hostage By Hamas

Israel Forces Says They Have Freed A Female Soldier Taken Hostage By Hamas As Gaza Ground Invasion Continues.

ISRAEL | According to Forbes, a female soldier who was taken hostage in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel was freed during a ground operation by Israeli forces, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday—marking the latest hostage to make it back to Israel as the war progresses.

KEY FACTS

Colonel Uri Megidish was medically examined and found to be in good condition, the IDF said in a statement to multiple news outlets.

The military and the Shin Bet internal security agency did not release details on how or when Megidish was rescued from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Megidish is the fifth hostage to return to Israel, following the release of two on October 20 and two on October 23—though those releases were both facilitated by Hamas for what it described as “humanitarian reasons.”

 “I congratulate the Shin Bet and the IDF for this important and exciting achievement, an achievement that expresses our commitment to the release of all the abductees,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on X.

BIG NUMBER

230. That’s how many Israeli hostages have been held by Hamas since October 7, Martin Griffiths, the United Nations relief chief said on Monday, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “For the past three weeks, their families have been living in agony, not knowing if their loved ones are dead or alive,” Griffiths said.

KEY BACKGROUND

Last week, Israel reportedly agreed to delay a widely expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip until the end of the week after the U.S. requested more time to get more defenses in place to protect American troops, allow more aid through to Palestinians and potentially get more hostages released. But on Friday, Israel started an “extended ground operation” against Hamas, attacking Gaza from both land and air in what Netanyahu called “the second stage of the war.” Megidish’s return comes amid the increased attacks, which Israeli officials said Monday morning would “continue and intensify,” according to NBC News. The death toll in Gaza and Israel has continued to rise since the war escalated on October 7: As of Monday, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry estimated there had been more than 8,000 deaths in Gaza, and Israeli officials say they have lost about 1,400 people, mostly during Hamas militants’ initial ground attack on southern Israeli towns, according to the Associated Press.

TANGENT

The IDF’s announcement that it had freed a hostage came just hours after Hamas released a video purportedly showing three other female hostages being held captive. In the video, one woman was critical of Netanyahu, saying he should free the Palestinians that Israel has in captivity, the New York Times reported. In recent weeks, Hamas officials have said the group will release its Israeli hostages if all Palestinian prisoners are released by Israel. After the video came out, Netanyahu said the video was “cruel psychological propaganda,” Sky News reported, and he posted to X saying he was doing everything he could to bring them home.

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