Both Israel and Hamas Tell of Failed Attempt to Rescue Hostages in Gaza

Israeli troops conducted at least one targeted raid in the Gaza Strip on Friday in a failed attempt to rescue hostages held by Hamas, both sides said, making competing claims about deaths and injuries inflicted.

The Israeli military and the military wing of Hamas gave differing accounts, leaving it unclear whether they were describing the same rescue attempt or two separate events.

Two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded in a rescue mission that did not recover any hostages, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the military, told reporters.

“The forces raided a Hamas site and eliminated terrorists who had taken part in the abduction and captivity of hostages,” he said.

In a statement, Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, described discovering an Israeli team trying to make its way undetected to free an Israeli soldier. In the resulting battle, the statement said, “many soldiers were wounded,” the hostage was killed, and an Israeli rifle and radio were recovered.

“As a result, Israeli warplanes targeted the whole area with heavy airstrikes in order to let the special force find a way out,” the statement said.

The Israelis referred to multiple hostages and did not identify any of them as troops. Neither side acknowledged suffering any fatalities.

Admiral Hagari said that the military was working continually with Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, to determine where hostages were being held and by whom, and to plan rescue missions.

Israeli forces have reported just one previous targeted raid to recover a hostage, in late October. That raid resulted in freeing one woman, Ori Megidish, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier.

Hamas and other groups kidnapped more than 240 people during the Oct. 7 assault on Israel, according to Israeli officials, who estimate that more than 130 remain held in Gaza. More than 100 have been released, primarily women and children, and some are believed to have died in captivity. Hamas contends that a number of hostages have been killed in Israeli airstrikes.