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War on Gaza: Hamas alleges Israeli forces killed captives during Nuseirat 'massacre'

While four Israeli captives were recovered alive during the attack, several others were killed, says Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida
Palestinians walk on the rubble of destroyed buildings following the Israeli Special Forces' deadly attack on Nuseirat camp, in the central Gaza Strip, on 8 June (AFP/Eyad Baba)

Hamas's military spokesman has alleged that Israeli captives were killed during an Israeli rescue operation in central Gaza on Saturday that also saw hundreds of Palestinians, mainly women and children, also killed.

"What the Zionist enemy carried out in the Nuseirat area in the heart of the Strip is a compound war crime, and the first who suffered from it are hostages," Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida said in a Telegram post.

It is not yet known how many Israeli captives were killed. Obeida did not provide a specific number but implied more than one. 

"[The] operation will pose a great danger to the enemy hostages and will negatively impact their conditions and lives," Abu Obeida added.

Earlier on Saturday, the Israeli army said it targeted "terrorist infrastructure in the Nuseirat area", north of the town of Deir al-Balah, as Israeli special forces freed four hostages in the same area.

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The operation saw three men and a woman who were kidnapped at the Nova music festival brought back to Israel. They were named as Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

While Israelis celebrated the return of the hostages, Palestinians mourned as the death toll reached at least 236, with more than 400 wounded.

"The occupation has annihilated the Nuseirat refugee camp. Innocent and unarmed civilians were bombed in their homes. I've never seen anything like this. It's a catastrophe," local resident Nidal Abdo told Middle East Eye. 

"I came from the camp to here in the hospital on foot. I can't describe how we fled. I saw dead children and body parts strewn all over as we fled. No one was able to assist them. I saw an elderly man killed on a animal-drawn cart.

"Nuseirat was being annihilated. It was hell."

Khalil al-Tahrawi, another resident, told MEE that Israeli forces began bombing Nuseirat following the early morning rescue operation.

"Israeli warplanes began bombing us in all directions to cover up the withdrawal process that had taken place. I do not know exactly what happened because I was taking shelter on the ground, but I could hear the sound of gunfire and of shells falling."

'Bloody massacre'

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas described the Israeli attacks as a "bloody massacre" and called for an emergency UN Security Council session.

A statement released by Palestine’s official news agency Wafa said that Abbas "is engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts with Arab and international stakeholders to convene an emergency session of the UN Security Council". 

"The aim is to address the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and compel the Israeli occupation to comply with international legitimacy resolutions, including those calling for an immediate ceasefire," the statement said.

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The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, also condemned "in the strongest terms … reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians".

In a post on X, he called for a ceasefire and the release of all remaining hostages. "The bloodbath must end immediately," he said.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the rescue and vowed that Israel would continue its operations until the remaining 116 captives still held by Hamas in Gaza were brought home.

"We will not relent until we complete the mission and return all our hostages home, both the living and the deceased," he said.

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters, which represents relatives of the captives, welcomed the rescue as a "miraculous triumph" and urged the government to "remember its commitment" to bring back all the hostages - "the living for rehabilitation, the murdered for burial".

"There are still hostages there and we need to get them all out," Michael Levy, whose brother is still held captive in Gaza, told MEE.

"They [the Israeli military] won't be able to release all of them in a military operation, so we still have to get to a deal and seal it soon."

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