story of the “complex” operation “Summer Seeds” – L’Express

story of the complex operation Summer Seeds – LExpress

On Saturday June 8, Israelis breathed a sigh of relief. With the greatest discretion, Israeli army forces organized the release of four hostages during a “difficult” military operation near the Nuseirat market in the central Gaza Strip. They are Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, all four “kidnapped” by Hamas on October 7 from the music festival site electro Nova, and recovered alive.

Initially named “Summer Seeds”, the mission was renamed “Operation Arnon” in tribute to the unit’s chief inspector, Yamam Arnon Zamora, who succumbed to his injuries during the assault. According to the daily The Times of Israelthis “bold” and “complex” mission required weeks of preparation, time to gather information and organize the rescue of the captives without risking their lives.

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According to one of the Israeli Defense officials, quoted in the American daily New York Times, intelligence services had learned that Noa Argamani was being held in a building near the Nuseirat market. Further indications received later indicated that three other hostages were in another building in the same section, said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman. The soldier also confirmed that Israeli soldiers had trained intensively based on models of the buildings where the hostages were being held. Note that Israeli special forces, supported by the IDF, intelligence and the air force were mobilized for this operation.

Two simultaneous operations

The green light for the mission was given by Herzi Halevi, army chief of staff, and Ronen Bar, director of the Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet. The forces of the Hebrew State therefore launched the two operations – one for each “group” of hostages – simultaneously, during the day, continued Daniel Hagari. Objective: try to surprise Hamas, taking the gamble that the armed group expected such an operation to take place at night. Still according to Daniel Hagari, the raid began in the two buildings where the hostages were located, in locked rooms and surrounded by armed guards.

“We surprised them in the building where Noa was,” rewound Daniel Hagari. At the same time, the other Israeli assault group came under fire in the second building, an exchange of fire wounding police officer Yamam Arnon Zamora. Once secured, the hostages were transported by car to two waiting helicopters. One carried Noa Argamani and the special forces officers. The second had on board the three remaining captives and the wounded police commander, who later died from his injuries.

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A few days earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallan, his Israeli Defense Minister, met with senior defense officials to discuss the risks of the operation and possible scenarios.

In the columns of The New York Times, several American and Israeli officials claimed that the United States had provided intelligence regarding the rescue of the hostages. However, Washington denies that the Gaza aid dock – used to deliver humanitarian aid – was used in this operation. For its part, the IDF also denies having borrowed humanitarian aid trucks for the hostage release mission. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, welcomed the return of four hostages and declared that Hamas is “the only thing standing in the way of a ceasefire agreement”.

This operation was decisive for the Israeli army which managed to rescue only seven hostages alive during three separate military operations, with around 120 captives remaining in Gaza. “Israelis, entering the ninth month of a war that appears to have devolved into a military quagmire, a diplomatic standoff and an object of global condemnation, finally had reason to rejoice on Saturday. And they did not miss to do it”, notes THE Washington Posttaken back by International mail.

For his part, the Jerusalem Post, a right-wing Israeli daily, adds: “This heroic operation is bringing a breath of fresh air to the IDF and the Israeli population.” But the Israeli daily Haaretz is less complimentary with an article published this Sunday, June 9 and titled: “Unfortunately for Israelis, Netanyahu only shows up when there is good news.”

“A massacre of civilians”

As Israelis celebrated their victory, the European Union condemned what it called “appalling” reports of a massacre of Palestinian civilians. EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell condemned the “bloodbath” and “massacre of civilians” during the hostage rescue.

During this operation, at least 274 Palestinians died and 698 people were injured, according to the Gaza government led by Hamas. Furthermore, the neighboring Al-Aqsa hospital recorded at least 94 Palestinian deaths. Figures to be taken with caution, because the AFP was not able to verify this assessment independently. In its press release, the Palestinian Islamist movement does not mention the hostages.