In a daring operation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) successfully rescued two Israeli hostages who were being held by Hamas terrorists in Rafah. The hostages, Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 71, were kidnapped from Nir-Yitzhak on October 7 and were found in good condition after the rescue operation. The IDF, along with forces from Shin Bet, Israel's intelligence agency, reportedly carried out the hour-long operation despite warnings from President Joe Biden not to proceed with the attack on Rafah.
The operation involved a prolonged battle with Hamas militants in the building and nearby areas, as well as dozens of airstrikes and an escort by IDF tanks to the helicopter. Three terrorists who were guarding the hostages were killed, and one IDF soldier sustained minor injuries. The forces stormed into the building using explosives and successfully pulled the hostages out while a gun battle ensued and the Air Force attacked the area.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari described the operation as complex and stated that the forces conducting the rescue "hugged and protected Louis and Fernando with their bodies." He emphasized that the successful operation was made possible thanks to the sacrifice of the standing army and reserve troops who were injured or killed in battles leading up to this moment.
However, Hagari also acknowledged that the rescue operation does not diminish the fact that there are still 134 hostages being held in Gaza. The IDF remains committed to addressing this ongoing issue.
The rescue operation has garnered attention and praise, with journalist Megyn Kelly describing it as "way bigger than the Super Bowl." The successful rescue of the Israeli hostages highlights the challenges faced by the IDF and the complex nature of operations in the region. It also serves as a reminder of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as the need for continued efforts to secure the release of all hostages.