Killing the Captives – What Happened in Israel’s Failed Rescue Attempt in Gaza

Al-Qassam said it seized a rifle and communication devices from one of the attacking soldiers. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Editors

Instead of rescuing Saar Baruch, an Israeli military force killed him. This episode is likely to make Netanyahu’s life even more difficult. 

In the early hours of Friday, Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas, declared that it had thwarted an Israeli military operation aimed at releasing an Israeli prisoner held by the Resistance in Gaza.

Al-Qassam’s claim was fortified by details about the failed mission, along with the name of the Israeli soldier who was being ‘rescued’.  

“A special Zionist force was discovered during its attempt to advance to free one of the enemy’s prisoners, resulting in a clash that led to the death and injury of members of the (Israeli) force. The military aviation (air force) intervened and bombed the area with a series of raids to cover their retreat,” Al-Qassam’s statement read. 

Saar Baruch

The clashes, according to Al-Qassam, resulted in the killing of an Israeli soldier, named Saar Baruch, a 25-year-old trooper with an ID card numbered 207775032.

Al-Qassam also claimed to have seized a rifle from one of the attacking soldiers along with other communication devices.

Aside from the early morning statement, very little was added to the story – no video footage, pictures or any other details. 

Hours later, the Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said that two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded during a rescue mission. Although he did not mention that the rescue mission was a failure, it was clear that it was not a success.

The initial Hamas statements said that several attackers were killed and wounded, but did not verify the fate of the body of Baruch himself.  


For over two months, Netanyahu’s War Council has insisted that Israel will release all hostages and prisoners by force. 

On the other hand, the Palestinian Resistance insisted that not a single captive will be released through combat but only through mediated agreements that would also ensure the release of all Palestinian prisoners and other civilians held in Israel. 

Starting on November 24, Israeli civilian captives were released in small groups, in exchange for allowing humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, along with the release of many Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons. 

That was part of a ceasefire that only lasted for seven days, but abruptly ended when Israel decided to return to the battlefield. 

But the Israeli return to war was far from being a success. Palestinian Resistance groups, throughout the Gaza Strip, provided documented evidence of scores of Israeli tanks and other military vehicles being blown up by young Gazans armed with mostly home-made weapons. 

Not even Israel’s daring attempt to invade the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis made much difference. 

For whatever reason, Israel has decided that it was Khan Yunis, after all, not the Al-Shifa Hospital that Hamas was using as its headquarters. 

Little did Israel know that Hamas would be utilizing its Nukhba forces, Al-Qassam strongest commandos units to defend the city. 

The battle of Khan Yunis forced Israel to revisit earlier claims that it will be able to fight in Gaza for months, if not years. The latest claim, as of Friday, December 8, is that Israel would require three to four weeks to subdue the city. 

Embarrassing Episode

That subduing is unlikely to take place, and today’s botched rescue mission is proof that the Israeli war on Gaza no longer carries any serious value, neither tactical nor strategic.

Soon after Hagari declared that two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded, Al-Qassam immediately released a video, showing a very bloody scene.

The video starts with Baruch identifying himself, asking to go home, yet ended with his blood-drenched body on the ground, with at least one bullet hole in his chest. 

This is how Al-Qassam’s Military Media described the events that led to Baruch’s killing at the hands of his Israeli rescuers:  

“At precisely 2:30 am, a Zionist force infiltrated the location where the captive was held using an ambulance, and disguising behind humanitarian organizations, in a blatant violation of international law. The force was discovered and engaged with gunfire.”

The reference to an ‘ambulance’ and a ‘humanitarian organization’ was explained by a military analyst to Al-Jazeera as an Israeli attempt to disguise its soldiers as humanitarian workers with an international medical organization. 

The repercussions of this will prove more than embarrassing for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government who had repeatedly vowed to the Israeli families of captives that he had a plan that would ensure the destruction of Hamas and the freeing of the captives, at the same time. 

But the failed operation, which instead of rescuing Baruch killed him, along with others, will complicate the political scene for Netanyahu, who is yet to deliver a single real achievement in Gaza since October 7.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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1 Comment

  1. I look at J’Post headlines saying that the IDF will flood the tunnels, and I keep thinking, that’s probably where a good number of those Hamas has “Administratively Detained” are being held. I expect the IDF will kill a good many Israeli citizens in the process. It seems to be all they are good at.

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