Israeli ground forces freed a female Israeli soldier on Monday night held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Pvt. Ori Megidish was freed after she was kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on Oct. 7, the IDF said.
Following a medical exam, she was reunited with her family, the military added.
“PVT Megidish was abducted by Hamas on October 7. Tonight, she was released during IDF ground operations.
“Ori is now home with her family.”
Megidish was among 243 people taken hostage by Hamas during its assault on Oct. 7, which left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 5,000 wounded. The terrorists have released four women.
She had been serving in the IDF’s Nahal Oz Base near the Gaza border as a spotter after enlisting six months ago, Channel 12 reported.
IDF special operations soldiers and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents freed her, Channel 13 reported. Though other members of her unit were also taken hostage, Megidish is believed to have been held alone.
After the news broke of the soldier’s return, celebrations broke out in her hometown of Kiryat Gat in southern Israel.
“Thanks to the Creator of the World, thanks to our soldiers,” Megidish’s aunt said during an emotional interview with Channel 12. “Thank you to the people of Israel … we are very excited.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) on their “important and exciting achievement,” which he said “expresses our commitment to the release of all the hostages.”
“The entire nation of Israel salutes the Shin Bet and salutes the IDF,” commented the premier.
The state will “exhaust every possibility” to bring back the Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, Netanyahu told relatives of the missing on Saturday.
The meeting in Tel Aviv lasted for some two hours, after which the families participated in a rally demanding the abductees’ return.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant dismissed a Hamas offer to exchange the Israelis being held in Gaza for thousands of Palestinian terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons as “psychological games.”
“If there is no military pressure on Hamas, nothing will progress,” Gallant told relatives of the hostages, according to a Defense Ministry statement. “The stories published by Hamas are part of its psychological games. Hamas is cynically using those who are dear to us.”
Families of Hamas’s hostages come to Ottawa seeking ‘decisive action’ to help free the victims
How Israel trains introverted ‘weasels’ to crack down on Hamas’s tunnels
On Monday, Hamas released footage showing three female Israeli hostages. The women in the video are confirmed to be Danielle Aloni, Rimon Kirsht and Lena Trupanob, according to Netanyahu’s office.
The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem called the video “cruel psychological propaganda by Hamas-ISIS.”
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Netanyahu appealed to “Lena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht, who were abducted by Hamas that commits war crimes.”
“I embrace you. Our hearts are with you and the other hostages. We are doing everything to bring all the hostages and missing people home,” wrote the prime minister.