Israeli security services successfully conducted a rescue operation on Saturday night in Rafah, located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, leading to the liberation of two hostages. This operation was carried out by the Israeli army, which, according to Hamas, resulted in about a hundred casualties prior to the successful liberation of the hostages.
The unfortunate victims of abduction were 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Louis Har. Both men, who are thankfully in a stable health condition, were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yithzak on October 7 by Hamas, the Palestinian political and militant movement.
To gain access to the building where the hostages were held, Israeli forces employed the use of explosives. A subsequent firefight ensued, with shots being fired from nearby buildings, as reported by army spokesman Daniel Hagari. He added that the air force initiated attacks, leading to several casualties among the terrorists, as well as the unfortunate loss of one of their soldiers.
Before this operation, Israel had already carried out multiple attacks on Rafah, which, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, resulted in about a hundred fatalities. The United Nations reports that about 1.4 million Palestinians have taken refuge in the city to escape the ongoing conflict and bombardment in the rest of the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian news agency Wafa reports that the casualties include a significant number of women and children. Initial reports indicated about fifty fatalities, but the numbers have since risen. There are also reportedly hundreds of people injured as a result of the raid.
In a prior statement, the Israeli army confirmed that it had launched “a series of attacks against terrorist targets in the south of the Gaza Strip” and stated that the attacks were concluded.
Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his army to prepare an offensive on the border city with Egypt on Friday. This city has become a refuge for many Palestinians who had to flee from previous offensives in the north and center of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu’s plans have attracted a considerable amount of international criticism.