newsIsrael at War

IDF hostage rescue renamed ‘Operation Arnon’ in honor of fallen commander

Arnon Zamora was "a hero of Israel, a lover of the land and a protector," says the Israel Defense Forces.

Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora died from wounds sustained during the rescue of four hostages from the Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. Credit: Israel Police.
Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora died from wounds sustained during the rescue of four hostages from the Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. Credit: Israel Police.

Israel will rename Saturday’s hostage rescue operation after Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, a member of the Israel Border Police’s “Yamam” National Counter-Terrorism Unit who was mortally wounded during the mission.

Zamora, 36, from Sde David, a moshav in southern Israel, leaves behind a wife, Michal, and two children. His wife eulogized him in a Facebook post.

“Everything is now filled with the image of the hero Arnon Zamora. Long before he was a warrior and hero, he was a sweet and wonderful man. An amazing spouse, a perfect dad. A loving and beloved man. This is how we will remember him, and I would be happy if you do too,” she wrote.

Zamora’s funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the police section of Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem.

His death brings the total death toll among Israeli forces since the start of the Gaza ground operation on Oct. 27 to 294, and to 646 on all fronts since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

Arnon Zamora. Credit: IDF Spokesperson.

During “Operation Arnon” (originally codenamed “Seeds of Summer”), Israeli forces rescued four hostages from two separate locations in Nuseirat Camp in the central Gaza Strip—Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

The four were all abducted by Hamas terrorists from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im during the Oct. 7 massacre.

They are in good condition and recovering at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan.

Over one hundred captives remain in Gaza who were taken during the Hamas-led onslaught of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7. That Saturday morning, Zamora commanded the Yamam team that helped fight off dozens of terrorists from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog praised Zamora’s actions on Oct. 7, tweeting that he “was one of the first fighters” on the scene in southern Israel, “who fought bravely” against the terrorists.

“On behalf of the entire nation—I mourn his fall, share in his family’s grief and send my condolences to his wife and children. I pray for the speedy return of the abductees and all the security forces to their homes quickly and safely,” Herzog wrote.

‘The IDF bows its head’

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also praised Zamora, tweeting,

“I salute Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, Commander in the elite Yamam Unit, who fell while leading a daring operation to rescue 4 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. He lived and fell a hero.”

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted, “Arnon was a brave warrior who impressed everyone who met him with his love of Israel and his devotion.”

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the hostages’ families, also mourned his death.

“The Families Forum bows its head in deep sorrow over the death of Commander Arnon Zamora, of blessed memory, who died of wounds sustained during the heroic rescue operation of Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan,” the organization tweeted.

“The dedication and courage of our security forces are the values upon which the State of Israel was built; in their death, they have commanded us to live,” it continued.

The Israel Defense Forces called Zamora a “hero of Israel, a lover of the land and a protector.”

“The IDF bows its head following the fall of the late Commander Arnon Zamora, a team commander in the National Counter-Terrorism Unit (NCTU) of the Israel Police,” the military said in a statement. “The IDF salutes his memory.”

The Israel Police released a statement reading: “The Israel Police salute our nation’s hero and will continue standing by the bereaved family through this challenging time. May his memory be blessed.”

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