Lights and Shadows

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Israeli forces freed four hostages taken by Hamas and its allies following an intense rescue operation over the weekend that has elicited cheers in Israel and among some world leaders, but condemnation from Palestinians and diplomats, NPR reported Sunday.

The hostages were kidnapped by Hamas and its allies at a music festival when they launched a surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, among more than 240 others taken hostage and around 1,200 people killed.

Israeli military officials said the hostages were rescued from two separate locations in central Gaza, amid intense combat and airstrikes that leveled buildings. The fighting also resulted in the death of one Israeli police officer.

During the raid, 274 Palestinians were killed and 698 wounded, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

The rescue has been hailed in Israel as a “heroic operation,” with emotional reunions between the hostages and their families.

The freed hostages are among only seven people that Israeli forces have managed to rescue alive since fighting began in October.

Following Saturday’s operations, around 120 others remain in captivity, although Israeli army officials believe 41 of them are dead, according to Agence France-Presse.

The international community’s response has been mixed: US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz celebrated the hostages’ release, while also calling for a truce between the warring sides.

But European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the civilian casualties as “appalling,” urging an immediate end to the violence.

Meanwhile, Hamas claimed that other hostages were killed during the rescue and warned of worsening conditions for those still held captive.

Following the Oct. 7 attack, Israel launched a military campaign in the Palestinian enclave that has killed more than 37,000 people, according to Gazan health officials. The United Nations has also reported the development of a severe humanitarian crisis, with widespread devastation and displacement in Gaza.

Amid ongoing international pressure, Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced Saturday the suspension of coal exports to Israel over the latter’s actions in Gaza, the Associated Press wrote.

Petro declared that exports would resume only once the “genocide” in Gaza stops, referencing a draft decree and a recent International Court of Justice order for Israel to withdraw from the territory.

Colombia’s coal exports to Israel, worth over $320 million last year, constitute a major portion of the latter’s coal imports which are crucial for its power plants.

The Colombian government has also halted new military purchases from Israel, potentially impacting Colombia’s security efforts against drug cartels and rebel groups.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu also faces escalating internal pressure, especially from nearly weekly protests demanding the hostages be returned and his resignation.

On Sunday, Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz added to that pressure by resigning from the emergency government, saying the prime minister has prevented victory over Hamas, Axios reported. The move weakens Netanyahu’s hold on power and increases the pressure on the prime minister to accept a Gaza ceasefire proposal meant to bring home the hostages still held by Hamas.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

Copy link