IDF soldier rescued from Gaza in first public message: ‘Happy I got my life back’

Ori Megidish, the only hostage rescued so far by Israel, posts TikTok video expressing hope all other hostages will soon come home, shows herself joking with family members

IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish (center) with her family after being rescued from Gaza, October 30, 2023. (Shin Bet)
IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish (center) with her family after being rescued from Gaza, October 30, 2023. (Shin Bet)

Soldier Ori Megidish, who was rescued last month by Israeli troops from Gaza after being abducted by terrorists on October 7, released her first public message since being rescued, hoping all hostages will return and saying she’s “happy I got my life back.”

In a TikTok video alongside a long bloopers section, she says: “Hi, I’m Ori Megidish. I returned home almost a month ago, and first of all, I’m happy to see all the moving videos of the hostages who are returning to their families, and I hope and wish that all the families still waiting for hostages will unite [with them] and also experience moments like I did.”

“I hope everyone comes back, and they will come back, God willing. I’m okay, and I’m at home with my family, and I’m having fun, and I’m happy I got my life back,” she says.

The message comes almost a month after Megidish was rescued by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet — so far the only hostage to be freed in a military operation.

Megidish was an observation soldier, taken hostage by Hamas when terrorists stormed the Nahal Oz base during the October 7 assault, when some 3,000 terrorists overran bases and communities in southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking another 240 hostage to Gaza.

The Shin Bet and IDF did not reveal further information on how Megidish was rescued from Hamas captivity, to prevent harm to future operations.

Megidish was believed to have been held alone, though other members of her unit were also captured by Hamas.

The rescue operation was planned several days in advance and it is believed that during the overnight activity, Hamas gunmen showed resistance. However, no members of the Israeli security forces were reported hurt.

Celebrations were held in Megidish’s hometown of Kiryat Gat following the news that she had been freed, with video footage from the southern city showing her family celebrating at home and supporters gathered outside the building.

So far 44 Israeli hostages have been released, most of them under a temporary truce deal with Hamas. Eighteen additional foreign workers — 17 Thais and one Filipino — were released under a separate deal.

In addition, the IDF recovered the bodies of two of the hostages who were killed in Gaza.

It was expected that a further 11 hostages would be released later Monday in the last phase of the deal.

As of Monday, 183 hostages are believed to remain held by Hamas and other terror groups, including 18 children (eight girls and 10 boys) and 43 women.

In response to the October 7 massacres, Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules Gaza, and to pursue every avenue to secure freedom for all of the hostages. Alongside intense strikes, the Israel Defense Forces has sent troops and tanks into the Gaza Strip.

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