Dramatic video shows moment IDF troops shoot their way into Gaza property housing hostages

Dramatic new video footage shows the moment Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldiers shot their way into an apartment block to rescue three hostages on Saturday.

“You’re going to be OK. We’re here to rescue you,” says one commando as he fist-bumps Andrey Kozlov, 27, while he backs up against a wall with his hands in the air. Another hostage can be seen raising his arms protectively above his head as the captives are identified and explosions fill the air.

The footage begins as heavily armed troops rush past undergrowth to the building through the continuous ricochet of continuous automatic gunfire.

The voices of women and children can be heard in the background but no one is in sight as the special operatives enter the building through dark, deserted rooms to find the three male hostages - Almog Meir Jan, 22, Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv, 41 – huddled together wearing shorts and vests.

Noa Argamani, 26, who was also rescued, was alone on the first floor of another building just 200m away.

Residents walk among debris following Israeli strikes on the area in Gaza where hostages were rescued on Saturday
Residents walk among debris following Israeli strikes on the area in Gaza where hostages were rescued on Saturday - ABED KHALED/REUTERS

Earlier on Monday, it emerged that Israeli special forces who carried out the audacious rescue of four hostages on Saturday dressed as Gazans and Hamas fighters, according to reports.

The unit, which included women in local attire, entered the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza on Saturday, the Times of Israel reported, citing eyewitnesses who spoke to Arab media outlets.

Palestinian witnesses have described how troops arrived in two vehicles disguised as carrying commercial goods and furniture, according to the Washington Post.

One resembled a truck marked with a brand of dishwashing soap while the other was a white Mercedes loaded with mattresses resembling the belongings of displaced Gazans.

The IDF has previously denied using civilian trucks.

A video from the centre of the camp, verified by the Post, showed a white Mercedes parked next to two ladders resting against the side of a residential building, leading to an upper floor. “Here they have arrived,” said a female voice behind the camera.

A witness named Hussam al-Arouqi, 33, said he saw men in plainclothes and about 10 heavily armed soldiers pouring out of the Mercedes, opening fire and shooting his brother.

Asked on Saturday about reports that operatives had carried out the mission in civilian attire, IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari declined to give details of “techniques and ways”, citing operational security.

“But we are doing things that are unimagined and we will keep on doing things that are unimagined and take risks to get intelligence but also to conduct operations in order to bring our hostages back home,” he said.

The four hostages were being held in two separate apartment blocks that had to be raided at precisely the same time, the IDF said.

The rescue was carried out in broad daylight to maximise the element of surprise but also increased the risk of a firefight.

According to Mr Hagari, who was watching the mission in real time on monitors at the Israel command centre, the rescue of Ms Argamani was unimpeded, but the guards in the apartment holding the three men fired at the commando squad, mortally wounding team leader Arnon Zmora.

Noa Argamani was one of the four hostages rescued by Israeli special forces from captivity
Noa Argamani was one of the four hostages rescued by Israeli special forces from captivity - MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

As they exited the building, the squad came under heavy fire from Hamas militants shooting rifles and rocket propelled grenades, in a battlezone so fierce that it caused their vehicle to break down.

Forced to take refuge in a nearby building, the commanders called in air support.

“The air force started shooting to give them a corridor, a wall of fire,” retired Maj Gen David Tsur, a former commander with the Yamam, or national counter-terrorism unit, told the Washington Post.

According to multiple witness accounts, the narrow streets, even more crowded owing to the number of displaced people in Gaza, erupted in explosions, causing screaming civilians to run in terror to seek cover.

Locals described carnage as multiple rockets struck the area as akin to an apocalyptic “judgement day”.

Nidal Abdo, who was shopping in Nuseirat, told CNN he saw a “crazy bombardment” hitting the streets.

“[It was] something we never witnessed before, maybe 150 rockets fell in less than 10 minutes, while we were running away more fell on the market,” he said.

“There are children torn apart and scattered in the streets, they wiped out Nuseirat, it is hell on earth,” he said.

Graphic footage circulating on social media, which could not be immediately verified by the Telegraph, shows severely injured casualties, including infants, being rushed to the overwhelmed Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.

As children wail in the background in distress, the injured lie in agony in pools of blood on the floor of a hospital that lacks the beds or doctors to care for them.

Israeli forces used helicopters to take the hostages from the Nuseirat camp back to their families
Israeli forces used helicopters to take the hostages from the Nuseirat camp back to their families - JACK GUEZ/AFP

In one video, a medic shouts in anger while holding the limp body of a young boy, brain matter spilling from a wound in his skull.

The Gaza Health Ministry said at least 274 people were killed, although it remains unclear how many were combatants.

The IDF on Saturday said it was aware of about 100 Palestinian casualties but also did not yet know how many were terrorists. It accused Hamas of making a “cruel and cynical” decision to endanger civilians by hiding the hostages within the population.

Médecins sans Frontières said one of its colleagues who had been living at the camp recalled the horror as people screamed and ran amid a hail of bombs and the sound of explosions.

Three agonising hours passed during which he feared for the safety of his son, who had gone to a market.

“I stood up to see if my son had come back and I realised he had left his phone at home,” said the man, who wished to remain anonymous.

“I went to the street screaming, ‘Where is my son? Where is my son?’ My family tried to get me back into the house. I screamed so much that I lost my voice.”

“One hour later, my son arrived home. The sight of fear and terror on his face… I have never seen this on a human being. He was barely able to speak. He said, ‘Dad, people have been blown into pieces! Children, women… why is it like this, Dad?’

Israeli forces were able to whisk the hostages unharmed from the scene, loading them onto helicopters to transport them to their relieved and overjoyed families.

However, the high death toll in one of the most lethal incidents to date has increased international criticism of Israel’s handling of the war.

Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign affairs chief said he condemned it “in the strongest terms”.

“Reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians are appalling,” he wrote on X.