US provided intelligence that helped Israel’s hostage rescue operation – report

Officials tell New York Times that US and UK analysts in Israel have been providing material from drone flights and cyberspace to help locate captives

Posters depicting the portraits of rescued Israeli hostages Andrey Kozlov, 27, Noa Argamani, 26, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Almog Meir Jan, 22, are plastered on a wall in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2024. The text underneath reads 'it's so good you came home.' (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)
Posters depicting the portraits of rescued Israeli hostages Andrey Kozlov, 27, Noa Argamani, 26, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Almog Meir Jan, 22, are plastered on a wall in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2024. The text underneath reads 'it's so good you came home.' (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

Intelligence provided by the United States helped Israel carry out the successful mission to rescue four hostages from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, according to a Saturday report.

Citing unnamed American and Israeli officials briefed on the matter, The New York Times reported that a team of American officials in Israel helped the operation by “providing intelligence and other logistical support.”

Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, had been abducted from the Supernova music festival near the Re’im kibbutz on the morning of October 7, when some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists killed 1,200 people and took 251 hostages in a murderous rampage in southern Israel.

In a daytime operation, Argamani was rescued from one site in Gaza’s Nuseirat camp on Saturday, while Meir Jan, Kozlov, and Ziv were rescued together from another nearby building.

Two Israeli intelligence officials told the Times that US military officials in Israel provided some of the specific information about the hostages rescued Saturday.

A senior Israeli defense official with details of hostage rescue efforts was quoted as saying that intelligence collecting and analysis teams from the US and the UK have been in Israel during the war helping their counterparts to gather and process information about hostages.

The Israeli official said that the US and British teams did not take part in planning hostage rescue operations. However, Israeli and US officials said that the supplementary intelligence they provided was valuable.

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)

According to the report, the Pentagon and the CIA have been supplying Israel with intelligence gleaned from drone flights over Gaza, intercepted communications, and other sources. An Israeli official said that the US and Britain have been able to provide intelligence from the flights, as well as from cyberspace, that Israel is not able to obtain by itself.

US officials have said that the intelligence focuses on locating the hostages and senior Hamas leaders, the report said, as Washington believes that the best way to convince Israel to end the war is by securing freedom for the hostages and either killing or capturing Hamas’s leadership.

Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, in a hint at American assistance, said in a statement about the recent successful rescue: “The United States is supporting all efforts to secure the release of hostages still held by Hamas, including American citizens. This includes through ongoing negotiations or other means.”

He also stressed that a current proposal for a hostage release in return for a truce “would secure the release of all the remaining hostages together with security assurances for Israel and relief for the innocent civilians in Gaza.”

The hostages rescued Saturday, who had been in Hamas captivity for eight months, were all in good condition, according to initial medical assessments. They were taken by helicopters from the Strip to hospitals in Israel for further evaluation.

The Israel Defense Forces later Saturday released footage of all four hostages reuniting with members of their families at Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center.

It was the third successful operation of its kind since October 7. The first was the rescue of soldier Ori Megidish in late October. In early December, the IDF attempted to rescue another hostage, but he was killed. And in February, hostages Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70, were rescued from southern Gaza’s Rafah.

All of the hostages rescued by the IDF from Gaza, including the four on Saturday, were saved from buildings and not tunnels.

Rescued hostage Almog Meir Jan raises his hands in celebration as he is escorted from an IDF helicopter on arrival at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Following Saturday’s rescue, 116 of the 251 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 still remain in Gaza, though dozens of them are thought to be dead. A weeklong truce in late November saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity and four hostages were released before that.

In all, seven hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 19 hostages have been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 41 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

Shlomi Ziv embraces a soldier as he lands in Israel after being rescued from Hamas captivity, June 8, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

One more person has been listed as missing since October 7, and her fate is still unknown, although her family believes she is dead.

Hamas has also been holding two Israeli civilians who entered the Strip in 2014 and 2015, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in 2014.

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