Israeli military says it freed captured soldier in Gaza ground operations

Israeli authorities say Ori Megidish, taken captive by Hamas during its October 7 attack, has been returned home.

Ori Megidish
The Israeli army says Ori Megidish (centre) has been released and is doing well [Courtesy: International Society of Automation]

The Israeli military has said that a captive soldier being held in the besieged Gaza Strip was freed amid ongoing ground operations.

In a brief statement on Monday, Israeli authorities said that a female soldier named Ori Megidish has been released and is doing well.

“Last night, soldier Ori Megidish was released during a ground operation after being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7,” the army said in a statement.

“The soldier was medically checked, is doing well, and has met with her family.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a photo showing Megidish with her family, but the military has not offered details regarding the circumstances of her release. Over the last several days, Israel has stepped up ground raids in Gaza.

In a social media post, Energy Minister Israel Katz congratulated “soldiers and commanders of the IDF [Israeli army] and Shin Bet for the bold operation”.

The announcement came hours after Hamas, the Palestinian armed group that governs Gaza, released a video showing three hostages who remain in captivity in Gaza.

More than 230 people, including Israeli soldiers and civilians as well as foreigners, were taken hostage during an October 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas, according to Israeli authorities. Israel has said that more than 1,400 people were killed in the assault, most of them civilians.

After the attack, Israel launched a devastating bombardment of Gaza and cut off access to water, food, fuel and electricity for the more than 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has governed since 2007.

The Israeli air strikes have levelled entire neighbourhoods and killed more than 8,300 people, most of them civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Israeli forces have also gradually increased ground operations inside Gaza in the last week.

Israeli tanks temporarily reached Salah al-Din Street on the outskirts of Gaza City on Monday, with a video verified by Al Jazeera showing a tank blowing up a car as it tries to turn around and drive away from the area.

The head of the Hamas government office, Salama Maarouf, said in a statement that Israeli tanks targeted two civilian cars and bulldozed a section of the road “before the resistance forced them to retreat”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies