Palestinian Journalist hid Israeli hostages in his home for Hamas- IDF

A Palestinian journalist was hiding Israeli hostages in his home for Hamas, Israel said on Sunday.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that Abdullah al-Jamal, who wrote for the Palestine Chronicle, a US-based non profit news website, was keeping Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomiz Siv captive in his family home.

The IDF stormed the home by ladder and killed Jamal, his father Dr. Ahmed, and his wife, Fatima in the raid that freed the trio on Saturday.

Jamal had once written for Al Jazeera, which has been temporarily banned within Israel. In a post on Twitter, the IDF asked the Qatar-owned news channel: “What’s this terrorist doing on your website?”

“Abdallah’s home held hostages, along with his family members,” the IDF said. “This is further proof that the terrorist organisation Hamas uses the civilian population as a human shield.”

The Al Jazeera biography for the journalist calls him “a Gaza based reporter and photojournalist. He often reports from the ongoing ‘March of Return’ protests at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel”.

The Palestine Chronicle describes itself as a “non-profit organisation whose mission is to educate the general public by providing a forum that strives to highlight issues of relevance to human rights”.

The Hamas journalist was filing stories about Israel’s war in Gaza while the hostages were held in his home.

Among the articles were, “Resistance our only option – Palestinians react to news of Israeli soldiers captured in Jabaliya”, “31 Martyrs in a single Israeli strike – Voices from the Gaza Genocide” and “Testimonies from ‘Camp 2’ massacre in Nuseirat”.

On Sunday, a ban on Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel was extended for another 45 days by the country’s telecoms regulator after the cabinet agreed its broadcasts pose a threat to security.

Israeli authorities raided a Jerusalem hotel room used by Al Jazeera as its office on May 5 and said they were shutting the operation down for the duration of the Gaza war.

Shlomo Karhi, Israel’s communications Minister, said: “We will not allow the terrorist channel Al Jazeera to broadcast from Israel and endanger our fighters. In light of the seriousness of the damage to the security of the state I am convinced that the closure orders will be extended in the future as well.”

On Sunday, it emerged that the father of rescued Mr. Jan “died of grief” just hours before his son returned home, his family has said.

Yossi Meir, 59, died of a heart attack before the news broke that the IDF had freed his son in the raid.

The army were unable to contact Mr. Meir to tell him the news and reached out to his sister Dina Jan instead. Ms. Jan, who said she “was so happy I didn’t know what to do”, rushed to Mr. Meir’s home in Kfar Saba, in the south of Israel.

She found her brother had died, after months of agonising waiting.

Ms. Jan told Israel’s Kan News: “I drove like crazy, I knocked, ‘Yossi, Yossi, Yossi’, and nothing. I got no answer. The door of his house was open and I saw him sleeping in the living room.

“I screamed ‘Yossi’ to him and he didn’t answer me. I saw the colour of his skin, I touched him, but he was dead.”

Mr. Meir had lost 20 kilograms since the capture, “glued to the television for the whole eight months, clinging to every piece of information”, Ms. Jan said. She added: “My brother died of grief and didn’t get to see his son return.”

It is believed Mr. Meir died on Friday night. “We are very happy about Almog’s return, but the brain is unable to absorb that this is the end. We are broken,” Ms. Jan said.

The IDF said the operation to rescue Jan was one of its most complex ever, with two separate rescues of four captives in broad daylight.

They said troops came under heavy gunfire from hundreds of Hamas forces during the operation, which brought together elite Israeli units in an undercover mission across air, land and sea.

One of the troops, Amon Zamora, from Israel’s Yamam counter-terror unit, was fatally injured.

The Hamas-run Gazan Health authorities said 274 people had been killed in the Israeli raid.

Noa Argamani was rescued simultaneously from a second apartment in the heavily populated civilian area.

Ms. Argamani’s capture by Hamas on Oct 7 came to define that brutal massacre after footage of her screaming as she was driven on a motorbike into Gaza was broadcast around the globe. On Saturday, she was reunited with her mother, who is terminally ill with brain cancer.

All four hostages had been taken by Hamas from the SuperNova music festival, where hundreds of partygoers were slaughtered.

Mr. Kozolov, a Russian-Israeli hostage, was greeted on Sunday by his parents, who flew from Russia for a reunion at Sheba Medical Centre.

Kozolov’s mother said: “I am the happiest I’ve ever been. We talked to Andrey, he looks and feels fine, he is even joking around.”

Including the four hostages recovered on Saturday, a total of seven have been rescued alive by the IDF. Another 19 bodies have been brought back to Israel and the IDF has now confirmed the deaths of 41 of the remaining 116 hostages still in Gaza.

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