In a remarkable turn of events, Private Ori Megidish, the female Israeli soldier who was abducted by Hamas on October 7, has been successfully rescued in a special operation carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF revealed this information during an exclusive update provided to CNN on Tuesday.
IDF spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, informed Anderson Cooper that Pvt. Ori Megidish was rescued in a meticulously planned and intelligence-led operation that took place in northern Gaza. Lt. Col. Conricus went on to assure that the soldier is in good mental and physical condition after being reunited with her family.
It was clarified by Lt. Col. Conricus that an initial announcement made by the IDF, which stated that the soldier had been "released," was due to a translation error. He emphasized that this was, in fact, a special operation specifically designed to extricate Pvt. Ori Megidish from her captors.
Moreover, Pvt. Megidish has already begun to share information about her captivity with Israeli intelligence officers. This valuable information is expected to aid in future operations and intelligence efforts.
While Lt. Col. Conricus did not explicitly state whether more rescue missions were in the works, he reiterated Israel's commitment to securing the release of all 238 hostages currently held by Hamas in Gaza. According to him, this commitment extends to bringing every hostage safely back to their families.
In response to allegations of psychological warfare by Hamas, who have been using hostages as leverage, Lt. Col. Conricus maintained that Israel's ground operations in Gaza should not negatively impact hostage negotiations. He argued that the successful rescue of Pvt. Megidish demonstrated the effectiveness of Israel's operations on the ground.
However, he did acknowledge the challenges that Israeli forces are facing in Gaza. Lt. Col. Conricus mentioned the expectation of "fierce resistance" and the use of tactics such as "tunnel warfare, booby traps, IEDs, anti-tank mines, snipers, and many other things" by Hamas. Despite these difficulties, he reported that progress on the ground was proceeding well.
Regarding the protection of non-combatants in the ongoing ground warfare, Lt. Col. Conricus assured that the Israeli military was making significant efforts to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. He noted that they were proceeding cautiously and with deliberate steps to minimize collateral damage.