Over the weekend, Israeli security services rescued two hostages in Rafah, located in the south of the Gaza Strip. They were identified as 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Louis Har. Hamas reported that about 100 people were killed in the Israeli army’s operation prior to the liberation of the hostages.
Both men, who were in good health, had been kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yithzak on October 7 by the Palestinian political and militant movement Hamas. Israeli forces used explosives to enter the building where the duo was being held. “A firefight broke out and shots were fired from nearby buildings,” said army spokesman Daniel Hagari. “The air force carried out attacks. Many terrorists were killed, as well as one of our soldiers.”
Israel had previously carried out several attacks on Rafah. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported about a hundred people were killed in these attacks, with many women and children among the victims. The United Nations stated that 1.4 million Palestinians were crowded into the city to escape the fighting and bombing in the rest of the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army had issued a statement earlier, saying it had carried out “a series of attacks against terrorist targets in the south of the Gaza Strip” and declaring that the attacks were over. Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his army to prepare an offensive on the border city with Egypt, where many Palestinians had fled after previous offensives in the north and center of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu faced international criticism for his plans.