February 23, 2024 1:15 am
The background of Israel’s release of two hostages in a raid on Rafah that lasted an hour and a half

Israeli forces carried out a daring rescue mission to free hostages Fernando Marman and Louis Har in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The operation involved intelligence services, elite units, and air forces, and lasted an hour and a half.

The raid was led by the Yamam counter-terrorism unit of the police, the Shin Bet, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). At 01:49, Israeli forces raided the apartment where the hostages were being held with explosives. The three captors were immediately killed, and the special forces shielded the hostages with their bodies.

Once inside the apartment, Israeli forces worked quickly to secure the hostages’ safe exit. Hamas men opened fire from nearby buildings while Israeli air force bombed Hamas military sites and command centers to clear a path for the escape. The operation was covered by naval commando Shayetet 13 of Israel’s navy and the 7th Armored Brigade.

Just over an hour after being pulled from the apartment, Marman and Har were taken out of Rafah in armored vehicles before being placed on a helicopter that took them back to Israel. After undergoing medical tests, they were found in good condition and were able to hug their families again. Only one member of Israel’s forces was slightly injured during the raid.

The two hostages had been kidnapped by Hamas during a violent attack on Kibbutz Nir Yiyzhak on October 7. They had been held together with Clara Marman (62), sister of Fernando’s first wife; Gabriela (45) her sister; Gabriela’s daughter Mia Leimberg (17); as well as another man whose identity has not been disclosed yet. This is only one of several kidnappings that have occurred in recent weeks as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians continue to rise.

The successful rescue mission is only one of two operations involving Israeli hostages since the beginning of this war; another mission failed last year resulting in death of one hostage while another episode ended with three freed hostages being mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers during their escape attempt. The liberation of Marman and Har is seen as a victory for Israelis who have faced numerous attacks from militant groups in recent years

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