Mom of rescued Israeli hostage Almog Meir Jan speaks out: I never lost hope

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(NEW YORK) — Orit Meir, the mother of freed Israeli hostage 22-year-old Almog Meir Jan, was overcome with disbelief and sheer joy when she got the call saying her son was rescued on Saturday.

“I screamed,” Meir told ABC News on Monday. “I was so happy … it was so, so exciting.”

“I never lost hope, I kept saying he’ll come back to me,” she added.

Jan was one of four hostages rescued by the Israel Defense Forces in central Gaza on Saturday. Jan; Noa Argamani, 25; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40, had all been abducted from the Nova music festival in Israel on Oct. 7.

Meir said Sunday was her first proper night of sleep since her son was taken hostage.

“Yesterday I slept all night with a smile,” she said, her voice filled with emotion.

“That’s what I want to happen for all the families of the hostages,” she said. “I got my miracle. I want a miracle for them.”

Meir said she’s urging the Israeli government and the international community to “pressure” Hamas to make a deal to bring the other hostages home as soon as possible.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday called the rescue operation “remarkable,” adding that the Israeli military wouldn’t rest until all remaining hostages were located.

“Our soldiers are performing in the most valiant and moral way to end this war with a victory against these killers and against these kidnappers, and we shall prevail,” he said of the Hamas militants.

The four hostages were in “good medical condition” when they were rescued, IDF officials said.

Jan’s uncle said physically the 22-year-old is “generally OK” and that “they expected much worse.”

Jan’s mother revealed that he was able to watch Al-Jazeera while in captivity and even saw photos of himself at a rally in Israel.

The hostages were rescued from two separate locations in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, the IDF said. That camp has become home to thousands of refugees who’ve fled fighting throughout Gaza.

Officials with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday that hundreds of Palestinians had been killed or wounded during the IDF operation in Nuseirat on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called on countries with connections to Hamas to push them to take the cease-fire deal on the table.

“My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region: If you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say yes,” Blinken said. “If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to get all the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to put present Palestinians and Israelis alike on the path to more durable peace and security, if you want to prevent this conflict from spreading, press Hamas to say yes.”

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