Israeli hostage rescue signals promising momentum in war, expert says

‘Hamas’s ammunition is draining, and they cannot restock it anymore, this ongoing military pressure is crucial to achieving Israel’s goals.’

By Sveta Listratov, TPS

In the aftermath of Israel’s rescue of four hostages in a bold daylight raid on Saturday, one military expert said the operation would increase the likelihood of Hamas making meaningful concessions for a hostage release and ceasefire.

The Israel Defense Forces rescued Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, under heavy fire in the Nuseirat refugee camp of central Gaza.

One Israeli was killed during the operation. He was identified as Arnon Zamora, an officer in the police’s elite Yamam counterterror unit.

The number of Palestinians killed during the fighting could not be independently confirmed.

“Only military pressure can lead to the release of hostages, either through military operations in the heart of the Gaza Strip or through negotiations where Hamas is backed into a corner, ensuring that the terms of the hostages’ release do not compromise Israel’s security interests,” Lt.-Col. (res.) Yaron Bouskila told The Press Service of Israel.

Bouskila is the CEO of the Israel Defense and Security Forum, a research institute based in Modiin.

He also serves as a reserve operations officer of the IDF’s Gaza Division.

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“There is a very clear rule that proves itself – friction creates intelligence. Either intelligence by sight from findings in the field or through prisoner interrogations. All the successes and achievements we’ve made so far are due to the information we’ve gathered from the field,” Bouskila noted, highlighting the importance of intelligence gathered during the ground operations in Gaza.

According to Bouskila, “The IDF understands that Hamas had prepared defenses with brigades and battalions against them in every civil location, and it has broken through their structured defenses everywhere except Rafah. Now we see them operating in small units because we’ve dismantled their framework. This is a very successful phase.”

In the absence of a comprehensive ground operation in Rafah, the situation there will remain challenging. But successes elsewhere in Gaza may provide further intelligence and momentum in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold.

“Senior commanders and many hostages are located in the Rafah area. It is clear that the more we advance towards Rafah, the more achievements we hope to bring, including the release of live hostages,” Bouskila told TPS-IL.

If not for international pressure on the Israeli leadership, “taking control over Rafah could have been completed within a week. “This affects our ability to achieve any accomplishments. Hamas is less prepared there for combat.”

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As TPS-IL reported, Hamas’s grip on Gaza governance is weakening. But instead of strengthening itself, the terror group is adapting its capabilities to the immediate goal of survival.

According to Bouskila, “Hamas’s ammunition is draining, and they cannot restock it anymore. This ongoing military pressure is crucial to achieving Israel’s goals.”

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.