Israel announces the first rescue of a soldier abducted on Oct. 7, a 19-year-old woman.

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She was abducted after Hamas gunmen overran and briefly captured a military base in Nahal Oz, just east of the northern Gaza Strip.

Private Ori Megidish, in a T-shirt, surrounded by people close to her.
Private Ori Megidish, center, celebrating on Monday after being rescued from captivity in Gaza. Credit…Israel Security Agency, via Reuters

The Israeli military said on Monday that it had rescued an Israeli soldier who was abducted from an Israeli army base on Oct. 7 and taken to Gaza during the Hamas-led terrorist attacks in Israel.

The soldier, Pvt. Ori Megidish, 19, was rescued between late Sunday night and early Monday morning, during the military’s ongoing invasion of Gaza, according to a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. He declined to say where exactly she had been held, but said she was in good physical and mental health.

More than 220 hostages were captured by Hamas and other groups on Oct. 7. Ms. Megidish is the first to be rescued alive by the Israeli military, Colonel Conricus said. Four other hostages have been released by Hamas.

She was abducted after Hamas gunmen overran and briefly captured a military base in Nahal Oz, just east of the northern Gaza Strip, where she served as a field observer, according to Ynet, an Israeli news outlet. Field observers watch for threats along the Gaza border by analyzing video filmed by cameras positioned along the border fences.

After providing the Israeli security services with useful information during a debrief, she returned home on Monday to her family in Kiryat Gat, in southern Israel, Colonel Conricus said.

Video posted on social media showed her being celebrated at a joyous family gathering that included the playing of a shofar, a Jewish ceremonial horn.

Her return set off celebrations in Israel, even among people who had never met her. Dozens gathered to celebrate outside Ms. Megidish’s family home; some of them were relatives and neighbors, but others did not previously know her or anyone in the family, according to television reporters who broadcast from the scene.

An aunt, identified as Smadar, told a television channel: “It’s a great joy, we’re excited, we thank the Lord, the people of Israel, our soldiers. This is thanks to you.” Around her, people waved Israeli flags and sang “Am Yisrael Chai,” a Jewish anthem that means: “The people of Israel live.”

Image

Emma Megidish, center, a grandmother of the rescued soldier, celebrates with family members outside of the family’s home in Kiryat Gat, in southern Israel.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Ms. Megidish was one of dozens of field observers at the Nahal Oz base on Oct. 7, according to a documentary about the attack by Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster. Only two escaped death or abduction, the documentary said.

At around 6 a.m. that day, Hamas terrorists breached the base’s gates and entered soldiers’ rooms, killing some and abducting others. In a video posted by Hamas after the attack, Ms. Megidish was seen with her hands handcuffed together, standing beside other captured soldiers, all women, from the base.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described her release online as an “important and moving achievement, which expresses our commitment to bring about the release of all the hostages.”

Patrick Kingsley is the Jerusalem bureau chief, covering Israel and the occupied territories. He has reported from more than 40 countries, written two books and previously covered migration and the Middle East for The Guardian. More about Patrick Kingsley

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