HomeUncategorizedIsrael Says Two Hostages Rescued In Rafah Operation

Israel Says Two Hostages Rescued In Rafah Operation

Israel announced on Monday the rescue of two hostages in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where the Hamas-run health ministry said “around 100” Palestinians including children were killed in heavy overnight air strikes.

Israel is preparing for a ground incursion into the teeming city along the border with Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge from fighting further north.

The precarious humanitarian situation in Rafah has prompted aid groups and foreign governments, including Israel’s key ally the United States, to express deep concern over the potentially disastrous consequences of expanding operations there.

The Israeli military announced early Monday morning that two hostages had been rescued in a joint military, Shin Bet and police operation in Rafah after nearly 130 days in captivity.

In a statement, the army identified the two as Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, saying they “were kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak”. Both were in “good medical condition”, it added.

“The military and the Shin Bet have been working on this operation for a long time… and they waited until the conditions were right to carry it out,” army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a briefing.

A firefight broke out as the hostages were being taken out of the building they were held in, he added, with air strikes targeting nearby buildings where shots were fired.

“Many terrorists were killed this evening during this operation and one of our fighters was slightly injured,” he said.

AFP journalists and witnesses heard an intense series of strikes and saw smoke billowing above the city, which now hosts more than half of Gaza’s total population after they fled bombardment elsewhere in the Strip.

The strikes hit 14 houses and three mosques in different parts of Rafah, according to the Hamas government.

The Israeli military said it had “conducted a series of strikes on terror targets in the area of Shaboura in the southern Gaza Strip”, adding that the strikes had concluded.

US President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu by phone Sunday and told him the Rafah advance should not go ahead in the absence of a “credible” plan to ensure “the safety” of people sheltering there, the White House said.

About 1.4 million Palestinians have crowded into Rafah, with many living in tents, while food, water and medicine are becoming increasingly scarce.

Netanyahu had told US broadcaster ABC News the Rafah operation would go ahead until Hamas was eliminated, adding he would provide “safe passage” to civilians wishing to leave.

When pressed about where they could go, Netanyahu said: “You know, the areas that we’ve cleared north of Rafah, plenty of areas there. But, we are working out a detailed plan.”


During a visit to a military base Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel aims for “the demilitarisation of Gaza”.

“This requires our security control… over the entire area west of Jordan, including the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Qatar, Oman and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), meanwhile, were some of the latest to raise the alarm over the plan to advance on Rafah.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also rejected “forced” displacement of people from Rafah, evoking the trauma of Palestinians’ mass exodus and forced displacement around the time of Israel’s creation in 1948.

Riyadh called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting, while Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the priority “must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out”.




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