Israeli Forces Free Two Hostages In Rafah Rescue

Officials declared early Monday that Israeli forces had successfully rescued two Israeli hostages detained in Rafah, Gaza.

Through a collaborative effort overnight, involving the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli Securities Authority, and Israeli police, Fernando Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were rescued. They were swiftly airlifted to Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel via helicopter. Subsequent footage released by the IDF depicted heartwarming scenes of Marman and Har reuniting with their families, embracing after their ordeal.

“The hostages were held captive in harsh conditions. They were intentionally held in the middle of a civilian neighborhood inside a civilian building to try to prevent us from rescuing them. But we did. Fernando Marmon and Luis Har are now home in Israel. They have undergone medical examinations and have been reunited with their families,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari explained during a press conference.

“This rescue mission underscores the importance of our ground operation in Gaza, including Rafah when conditions allow,” he continued. “One hundred and thirty-four men, women, children, and elderly are still being held hostage in Gaza. We have a moral obligation to bring all our hostages home, and that is an obligation that we will continue doing everything – everything in our power – to fulfill.”

Merman and Har were abducted by Hamas militants from the Nir Yitzhak Kibbutz on October 7, coinciding with Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Forces comprising the IDF, Navy SEALs, the Shin Bet special operations unit, and the Israeli police counterterrorism unit converged on a building in Rafah to execute the rescue operation.

During a briefing with reporters, an IDF spokesperson revealed that the forces approached the building, covertly accessing the second floor. They then used an explosive to breach the door of the apartment, where the three terrorists holding the hostages were located.

According to an IDF official, the IDF and Shin Bet had meticulously planned the operation over several weeks. Additionally, the Israeli Air Force executed substantial airstrikes in Rafah to divert attention and facilitate the rescue mission.

As of Monday, 134 out of the over 240 individuals abducted on October 7 are still held captive in Gaza. Over 100 were released as part of a temporary cease-fire agreement in November. Among those freed are Har’s wife, who is also Marman’s sister, as well as Marman’s other sister and niece.