Israel: Mother of rescued hostage Noa Argamani dies

The mother of rescued Israeli hostage Noa Argamani has died, three weeks after her daughter was freed in a dramatic raid after being held for eight months by Hamas in Gaza.

Liora Argamani, who was born in China, had suffered from brain cancer. She was 61.

Liora released a video in December, pleading with Hamas to release her daughter, saying: “I don’t know how long I have left. I wish for the chance to see my Noa at home.”

Noa was rescued on 8 June, when Israeli commandos raided an apartment where she was being held in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. Three other hostages were rescued from a nearby apartment at the same time.

An image of Noa being dragged away in terror on the back of a motorcycle by Hamas gunmen became one of the most widely recognised pictures of Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October 2023.

Some 251 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were taken hostage when Hamas burst through the border in the unprecedented attack in which about 1,200 people were killed.

The attack triggered the war between Israel and Hamas. At least 37,900 people have been killed by Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum – a collective of relatives and friends of people taken hostage on 7 October – said it “bows its head” at the news of Liora’s passing.

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife “grieve from the bottom of our hearts for the passing of Liora Argamani and share in the family’s grief”.

On Saturday night, a video message from Noa, in which she spoke publicly for the first time since her rescue, was played at a protest in Tel Aviv calling for the release of the remaining hostages.

“As an only child to my parents, and a mother suffering from a terminal illness, my biggest concern in captivity was for my parents,” she said.

“It’s a great privilege to be here after 246 days in Hamas captivity, to be beside my mother after eight months of uncertainty.”

Hamas and allied armed groups are still believed to be holding 116 hostages, including Noa’s boyfriend Avinatan Or, who were taken on 7 October. At least 42 are presumed by Israeli authorities to be dead.

The others have been released, rescued or their bodies recovered.

Four other Israelis have been held hostage since 2014 and 2015, two of whom are presumed dead.

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