Mom of soldier rescued from Gaza: ‘Our prayers are with the hostages and missing’

Margalit Megidish, whose daughter Ori was freed during ground operation in Strip, expresses gratitude to Shin Bet, IDF and security forces in emotional statement

Margalit Megidish, mother of IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish who was rescued from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, speaks to press outside her home in Kiryat Gat, October 31, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Margalit Megidish, mother of IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish who was rescued from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, speaks to press outside her home in Kiryat Gat, October 31, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The mother of a soldier rescued from the Gaza Strip issued a message of thanks to the security forces on Tuesday, adding that her prayers were with all those who are still missing and kidnapped.

A day earlier, security forces announced the rescue of Pvt. Ori Megidish in an overnight operation, the first captive taken in the terror group’s shock assault on October 7 to be freed by Israeli troops.

“Dear people of Israel, we thank everyone for the prayers and support,” Margalit Megidish said in a statement.

“Our Ori has returned home, and now our prayers are with the rest of those kidnapped and missing. Our hearts are with all the families,” she said.

“Thank you to God, the Shin Bet, the IDF and the security forces, thank you all,” said a visibly emotional Megidish.

Ori Megidish was an observation soldier, taken hostage by Hamas when terrorists stormed the Nahal Oz base over three weeks ago.

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

The Shin Bet and IDF were not expected to 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 in the October 7 onslaught. In total, at least 243 civilians and soldiers were kidnapped that day, of whom four have been released 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 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.

“I would like to convey a message to the hostages and their families, we — the IDF and Shin Bet — are all obligated, we have a moral obligation to return all the hostages home,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Monday evening.

Hagari said Megidish managed to recall everything she saw in the Gaza Strip, providing information that he said may be used in future operations.

He said that after being rescued, Megidish met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar. He described it as a “very touching meeting.”

Israelis celebrate the rescue of IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish from Hamas captivity, outside her home in Kiryat Gat, October 30, 2023. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)

Megidish’s return was hailed by Israeli leaders, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying the operation “is proof” that Israel can rescue the hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups, while cautioning that the ongoing ground operation was “not easy.”

Megidish was one of the at least 245 hostages dragged into the Strip by Hamas and allied terror factions during the shock assault on southern Israel three weeks ago, when some 2,500 terrorists stormed across the Gaza frontier in a multipronged attack and killed over 1,400 people, most of them civilians slaughtered in their homes and at an outdoor music festival.

The captives, also mainly civilians, include women, the elderly and children, some still in diapers. It is not clear how many of them are alive.

People walk between posters of hostages abducted by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, Oct. 29, 2023 (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The announcement that Megidish was rescued came hours after Hamas released a video showing three of the women it took hostage. The three, who appeared to be filmed under duress, were identified as Danielle Aloni, Rimon Buchshtab Kirsht, and Lena Trupanov.

Since the October 7 attack, Hamas has released four hostages — an American-Israeli mother and daughter and two elderly Israeli women — in moves brokered by Qatar, which hosts both a US military base and Hamas’s political leadership.

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, but has seemingly limited its ground offensive, apparently in order to avoid endangering efforts to free the hostages.

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