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New video shows how raid unfolded; war crimes possibly committed, U.N. says

TEL AVIV — Dramatic new video shows the moment Israeli hostages were rescued from an apartment in central Gaza, a high-risk raid that left a trail of devastation in its wake and raised fresh doubts about pressure of the United States in favor of a cease-fire.

As details of the operation emerged and freed captive Noa Argamani was released from hospital on Tuesday, the United Nations human rights office said Israeli forces and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes in connection with the weekend raid.

In Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken touted positive signs after the U.N. Security Council backed a proposal by President Joe Biden for a truce between Israel and Hamas that would guarantee the release hostages still held in the enclave.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “reaffirmed his support for this proposal,” Blinken said Tuesday morning after meeting with senior Israeli officials. He also welcomed Hamas’ support for the UN resolution, which he considered a “sign of hope.”

Hamas confirmed on Tuesday that it had provided its formal response to Egypt and Qatar, which are acting as mediators in the negotiations.

The response contained amendments to the Israeli proposal, including a timetable for a permanent ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Video shows hostage rescue

Police officers can be seen rushing towards a building in the Nuseirat refugee camp as explosions ring out in the video, which was captured by their helmet cameras and released by Israeli police on Monday.

After forcing the door to the apartment, they scanned an empty room with flashlights before entering what appeared to be a bedroom, where they found at least two of the hostages rescued Saturday.

Almog Meir Jan, 21, and Andrey Kozlov, 27, can be seen in the video.

Israeli forces enter apartment where hostages were being held in Gaza. via Israeli Police
Hostages protect their ears during a loud explosion inside the apartment as Israeli forces carry out the operation. via Israeli Police

The officers appear to ask the hostages their names, before Kozlov can be heard shouting: “Andrey! as both men raise their hands. Huddled together as fights appear to break out around them, Jan and Kozlov appear visibly shaken before the video cuts to their escape from the building in broad daylight.

The two men were among four hostages rescued by Israeli forces and police on Saturday, with Argamani, 26, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, also released from captivity eight months after being taken hostage in Gaza during Hamas attacks from October 7.

All four were quickly reunited with their families.

Argamani, whose boyfriend Avinatan Or is believed to still be in Hamas custody, was finally able to be with her mother, who has terminal brain cancer. For Jan, the reunion came a few hours too late, his own father having died the morning of the 21-year-old’s rescue.

Argamani was released from Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital on Tuesday morning after undergoing a series of medical examinations, the hospital said in a statement. He said Argamani and other members of his family would, however, remain nearby to stay close to his mother.

Blinken also met with families of hostages during his stay in Israel, before traveling to Jordan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with families of hostages held in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday during a visit to Tel Aviv.Amir Lévy / Getty Images

Biden administration officials have discussed the possibility of negotiating a unilateral deal with Hamas to secure the release of Americans held hostage in Gaza if ongoing ceasefire talks fail, NBC Two told current senior US officials and two former senior US officials. News.

The Israeli military said Tuesday that Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Israel at the invitation of Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Herzi Halevi for an operational assessment discussing regional challenges.

UN speaks of possible war crimes

The rescue operation took a toll on Palestinian refugees in Nuseirat, with more than 274 people, including dozens of children, killed in the raid, according to local health authorities.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari acknowledged that there were deaths in connection with the operation, saying that the IDF estimated the death toll to be fewer than 100 and did not know how many were civilians. Hamas fighters.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday it was “deeply shocked” by the impact on civilians in Nuseirat.

“The manner in which the raid was carried out in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question the respect of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as set out in the laws of war, by the Israeli forces,” he said. said spokesperson Jeremy Laurence. .

He said the UN was also “deeply distressed” that militant groups continued to hold hostages in Gaza, including in densely populated areas, which he said was putting “the lives of Palestinian civilians, as well as that of the hostages themselves, in danger.”

Laurence added that “all these actions, on the part of both parties, could constitute war crimes.”

Video taken following the raid showed charred bodies strewn across the streets of Nuseirat, while Palestinians gathered the remains of those killed. Bloodied children could also be seen arriving at a local hospital, already overcrowded with injured patients.

Israel faces growing international outrage and isolation as the death toll continues to rise in Gaza, with more than 37,000 people killed, according to Gaza’s health ministry, since forces Israeli forces launched their offensive in the enclave after the Hamas attack on October 7. attacks, in which around 1,200 people were killed and some 250 people were taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.

It is estimated that more than 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza, and at least a quarter of them are believed to be dead.

Andrea Mitchell reported from Tel Aviv and Chantal Da Silva from London.

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