Report: Special forces posed as displaced Gazans moving into building where hostage held

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Some of the special forces that entered the Nuseirat camp in Gaza yesterday to conduct a large-scale operation to free four hostages posed as displaced Gazans from Rafah, according to local residents who spoke with the Saudi-owned Asharq news channel.

Ynet claims that the special forces belonged to Israeli units that operate in Palestinian areas by blending in with local Arabs, including speaking the language fluently.

The unit, which also included women, reportedly entered the Nuseirat camp from an area close to the American aid pier and the Netzarim corridor, an east-west passage bisecting Gaza north of the camp which has been held by the IDF and is used as a jumping off point for raids in northern and central Gaza.

The disguised forces arrived in a white car carrying mattresses on top, and the women were dressed in the clothes “that women are wearing here in the war,” Asharq reports.

Locals asked the newcomers where they came from, and the latter answered that they were escaping the IDF operation in Rafah, and had rented a place in the area around the market in Nuseirat, pointing at the building where Noa Argamani was being held. The three male hostages (Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv and Almog Meir Jan) were detained in another building 200 meters away.

The unit then reportedly split into two groups, each heading towards one of the two buildings, in preparation for the operation.

Eyewitnesses tell Asharq that beside the disguised troops, other special forces snuck into the Nuseirat camp inside an aid truck. The IDF has denied using humanitarian transports for the operation.

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