Rescued hostages were held by families with known ties to Hamas, says report

Nuseirat residents tell Wall Street Journal they were surprised to learn about the presence of four Israelis in the camp, and some are ‘furious’ that Hamas endangered them

Palestinians children play on the site of a destroyed building, purportedly where Israeli hostages were held and rescued during an Israeli military operation, in the Nuseirat refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip on June 15, 2024. (Eyad BABA / AFP)
Palestinians children play on the site of a destroyed building, purportedly where Israeli hostages were held and rescued during an Israeli military operation, in the Nuseirat refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip on June 15, 2024. (Eyad BABA / AFP)

The hostages rescued from the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces last week were held by two families with widely known links to the Hamas terror group, according to a new report.

The IDF said last week that three of four hostages rescued by special forces from the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 8 were held at the home of Abdallah Aljamal, a Palestinian journalist and member of the Hamas terror group. The fourth hostage was kept in a building just 200 meters away.

The Wall Street Journal reported that it was “common knowledge in Nuseirat” that Aljamal’s family had close ties to Hamas, but said “few people in the densely populated area in central Gaza knew of the secret locked in the small, darkened room in the family’s apartment.”

Aljamal was previously a spokesman for the Hamas-run labor ministry in Gaza and contributed to several news outlets in the past.

Amid the war in Gaza, while hostages Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv were being held captive in his home, numerous articles by Aljamal were published by the Palestine Chronicle outlet. In an article published days before the hostage raid, headlined “My House Will Always Be Open,” Aljamal claimed he was willing to take in those displaced by the war from other areas of Gaza.

Aljamal was open in his support of Hamas. On October 7, the day terror group led a devastating cross-border attack on southern Israel, Aljamal posted to Facebook “Praise be to God…Oh God, guide us…Oh God, guide us…Oh God, guide us…Oh God, grant us the victory you promised,” the Journal report said.

During the attack, terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 251 hostages to Gaza amid acts of brutal atrocity.

Israeli hostages pictured after their rescue from Hamas captivity in Gaza on June 8, 2024. From left: Shlomi Ziv (IDF); Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90); and Noa Argamani (Courtesy).

Aljamal’s wife Fatma, and his father Ahmad Aljamal were killed during the hostage rescue mission. Residents told the Wall Street Journal that the family’s children survived.

Ahmad Aljamal — whose brother serves as a Hamas lawmaker on Gaza’s legislative council — was a physician in the area and also served as imam at a local mosque, the kind of key institution controlled by Hamas. During the months the hostages were held in the home he continued treating patients in the Nuseirat camp and at his private clinic, locals reported.

A neighbor told the Journal that Ahmad Aljamal went about his business as usual during the war, though his son Abdullah was hardly seen.

Ali Bkhit, a social media consultant, told the outlet that the father “was a nice character; his smile never left his face.”

Some residents quoted in the report said they were surprised that the Aljamals held hostages at their home, while others said they were “furious” that Hamas had put them in danger by holding the captives there rather than in the terror group’s extensive network of tunnels under Gaza. The narrow streets of the area meant that a military operation was bound to have high casualties, residents noted.

“Hamas should give us a map of the safe zones we can stay in, because if we knew there were hostages in the neighborhood, we would have looked for another place,” said Mustafa Muhammad, 36, who fled from Gaza City to Nuseirat.

Hostages Almog Meir Jan and Andrey Kozlov are seen being rescued by forces of the Yamam unit, in central Gaza’s Nuseirat, June 8, 2024. (Israel Police)

Some residents said Hamas should have released the hostages in a deal to end the war, amid mounting frustration that the fighting is still raging, more than eight months after the October 7 onslaught. Others expressed surprise that the family was able to keep the presence of the hostages secret in such a closely-packed neighborhood, where even minor sounds easily pass through the apartment buildings’ thin walls.

The fourth hostage, Noa Argamani, was rescued from a nearby building in the IDF operation.

The Journal said Argamani was held nearby by the Abu Nar family, which also has ties to Hamas, but was less prominent.

Last week, the newspaper reported the rescued hostages suffered repeated physical and psychological abuse during their eight months in Hamas captivity.

Punishments for failure to comply with their captors’ strict orders included being locked in the bathroom and being buried under blankets in the intense heat, the report said. The guards also abused the hostages psychologically, repeatedly threatening to kill them and telling them nobody would come for them or even cared about them.

Details of the report, which cited the abductees’ relatives as well as Israeli security and medical officials, were backed up by the family of Andrey Kozlov, in a series of interviews.

The Aljamal family home and that of the Abu Nars were both destroyed in Israeli airstrikes after the raid, local residents told the Journal.

An Israeli military helicopter with rescued Israeli hostages arrives at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The site of the AlJamal home has since become a curiosity, with locals arriving to see the place where the hostages were held.

Hamas’s government media office claimed at least 274 people were killed amid the rescue operation, an unverified figure that also does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

The IDF acknowledged that it killed Palestinian civilians amid the fighting, but it placed the blame on Hamas for holding hostages and fighting in a dense civilian environment. “We know about under 100 [Palestinian] casualties. I don’t know how many of them are terrorists,” IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

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