Israel Frees First Hostage

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Israel has freed the first of its hostage held since it began its sweep of Gaza. The hostage was a young female soldier taken on the October 7 raid.

After Israel’s Special Forces were involved in the raid, Private Megidish gave valuable intelligence to Israeli Intelligence. CNN reports:

An Israeli soldier who was abducted by Hamas has been rescued in a special joint operation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told CNN, the first successful hostage extrication since the militant group’s October 7 rampage.

In its initial announcement, the IDF said Pvt. Ori Megidish was “released.” But that was a translation error, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

This first return to Israel has brought great joy to its people, who celebrated outside Megidish’s residence. The NY Times says:

Her return set off celebrations in Israel, even among people who had never met her. Dozens gathered to celebrate outside Ms. Megidish’s family home; some of them were relatives and neighbors, but others did not previously know her or anyone in the family, according to television reporters who broadcast from the scene.

An aunt, identified as Smadar, told a television channel: “It’s a great joy, we’re excited, we thank the Lord, the people of Israel, our soldiers. This is thanks to you.” Around her, people waved Israeli flags and sang “Am Yisrael Chai,” a Jewish anthem that means: “The people of Israel live.”

Finding a hostage in good health was not expected, but is welcome in Israel. Advanced operations will be key for hostage rescue before Hamas kills them for fear of losing them.

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