The Israeli military said it had launched a ground and air operation in Rafah to rescue the hostages
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) coordinated a ground and air operation against Hamas targets in Rafah to free the two hostages, a spokesman told reporters on Monday.
“In a joint rescue operation by the IDF, security forces and special police forces, the Special Police Unit, we rescued Louis Har and Fernando Marman, who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 in Nir Yitzhak,” said his spokesman, Daniel Hagari. .
“There was a wave of airstrikes and strikes by the Israeli Air Force in conjunction with the Southern Command.”
Hagari said special forces entered the building in central Rafah at 1:49 a.m. local time (6:49 p.m. ET).
“At 01:50, the Air Defense Force and the Southern Command launched the operation, allowing forces to cut off and attack Hamas terrorists in the area,” he added.
Within minutes, the two hostages were taken under gunfire by Hamas fighters and then taken to a “safe place” in Rafah for medical care, Hagari added.
They were then flown by helicopter from Gaza to the Shiba Clinic in Tel Hashomer, Israel.
Hagari said the “complex” operation had been planned “for a long time”.
“It was a very tense and exciting night,” he added.
More than 100 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Rafah, the Palestinian Red Cross said on Monday.
Many more are feared to be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed buildings.
A small environment: Nir Yitzhak is one of several kibbutzim near the Gaza border that were attacked by Hamas militants during their October 7 attack, which killed about 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages. Israel's response has caused widespread devastation across Gaza. The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry said the death toll since October 7 had risen to more than 27,500.
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