New details emerge of soldier’s rescue from Gaza

Private Ori Megidish was held in an apartment near Shifa Hospital, not in a terror tunnel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Some new details have emerged about the extraordinary rescue of IDF soldier Ori Megidish from the Gaza Strip just over a week ago.

Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal said Monday that the IDF private had been held in an apartment in the Shaati refugee camp, near Shifa Hospital, which the IDF has proven is being used as a haven for the top command of the Hamas terrorist organization, with a vast tunnel network underneath the medical center.

Once the IDF found out her location and the ground incursion began on October 27, giving the rescue operation cover, an elite force of Shabak commandos disguised as Arabs infiltrated into the apartment in question.

The Shabak agents surprised the kidnappers inside and killed two while getting Megidish out safely.

Maariv reported that dozens of Shabak personnel were involved in gaining the necessary precise intelligence and carrying out the rescue. Those who found her cried tears of joy, the media outlet added, citing Shabak sources.

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Security sources estimate that the operation will put pressure on Hamas and help free others, said the report. However, there is also intelligence that Hamas is currently moving the abductees from place to place in order to keep them from IDF forces.

In general, the thought is that the 240 hostages forced into the coastal enclave on October 7, including infants and the elderly, during the Hamas massacre of 1,400 people in the Gaza envelope, would be kept in various tunnels. Their captors would also consider it a possible safety measure for themselves, as Israel might refrain from missile strikes if the IDF thought it might kill kidnappees.

Hamas has claimed that some 50 of those taken were being held by other Palestinian forces or by Gaza civilians. The identity of Megidish’s captors has not been revealed.

All IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said after her rescue was that the young IDF spotter “has provided intelligence that we will be able to use in the future for future operations.”

While the public greeted the daring operation with overwhelming joy, some families of those taken hostage are demanding that the quickest way to free their loved ones is to agree to Hamas’ demand to free all 6,000 security prisoners held in Israelis jails in an exchange deal.

Others do not agree, believing that this would just encourage future horrors, as proven by the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, in which 1027 terrorists were freed for one soldier, including one who is now the leader of Hamas, Yihye Sinwar.

The Tekuma 2023 movement, founded to support the government’s judicial reform initiative in order to strengthen Israeli democracy, has come out with a campaign to support the latter view.

“We believe that the abductees will only be released when Hamas is on its knees,” said Tekuma head Bere’leh Crombie. “We strongly oppose the release of terrorists and repeating the mistakes in the Shalit deal in which hundreds of terrorists were released with blood on their hands who later became terrorist operatives and murderers of Jews.”

Besides espousing the overwhelming use of force to crush the terrorists, the movement also backs a complete cessation of all humanitarian aid, electricity and water supplies to put as much pressure on Hamas as possible.

Almost two weeks ago, Jerusalem bowed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s urging and reopened the second of three pipelines to provide most of the 10% of Gaza’s water that it had always supplied.

The government had unlocked the first pipeline a mere week after the war began due to White House pressure, although Energy Minister Yisrael Katz had vowed that “No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home.”

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While under tremendous international pressure to allow more aid into the southern Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, Israel is still refusing entry of any fuel, as it has proven that Hamas is hoarding 500,000 liters to run the aeration systems for its tunnels rather than provide it to civilians so they can have electricity in their homes, schools and hospitals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also declared numerous times that there would be no ceasefire with Hamas, as many in the world are demanding, unless it frees all the hostages.