Israeli captive held by Hamas 'killed in failed army rescue operation'

Israeli captive held by Hamas 'killed in failed army rescue operation'
Both Hamas and Israel have confirmed that there was a failed operation launched by Israeli special forces, during which a hostage was killed.
2 min read
09 December, 2023
The Qassam Brigades also claimed to have seized Israeli army equipment during the rescue attempt [Screenshot]

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said on Friday that it prevented an Israeli military operation aimed at releasing a hostage held in Gaza.

The hostage, who Hamas says was a soldier, was allegedly killed during the Israeli assault. while two members of the Israeli special forces team were severely injured.

A video released on social media by the Qassam Brigades purportedly shows the aftermath of the failed Israeli operation. The video begins with previously recorded footage of the hostage, who identifies himself in the clip as 24-year-old Israeli soldier Sahar Baruch from Kibbutz Be’eri.

Text in the video then claims that Israel used an ambulance to penetrate the Palestinian group’s defences - something which they say defies international law. The Qassam Brigades said they ambushed the Israeli special forces and “dealt with them with gunfire”.

The graphic video then shows clips of a blood-spattered room and the body of the deceased hostage, with what appears to be at least one bullet hole in his chest. The Qassam Brigades claim he was killed in the crossfire.

The video also shows an Israeli rifle and radio equipment taken by the Palestinian group during the failed operation.

Live Story

Israeli forces launched aerial assaults to cover the retreat of the special forces, the Qassam Brigades said.

The failed rescue operation was later confirmed by the Israeli army, however the military blamed Hamas for Baruch's death.

"Two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded in a rescue mission that did not recover any hostages", Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the military, told reporters.

“The forces raided a Hamas site and eliminated terrorists who had taken part in the abduction and captivity of hostages,” he added.

More than 130 hostages remain held in Gaza, with more than 100 released, primarily women and children, during a temporary ceasefire that fell apart at the end of November. Several hostages are believed to have been killed in Israel's relentless airstrikes, which have levelled large parts of the Palestinian enclave , displacing over 1.9 million people and killing over 17,000, the vast majority of whom are civilians. 

The war cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to do whatever it takes to secure the safe return of hostages. Family members of the hostages have accused the Israeli government of not doing enough to ensure their relatives' safe return.