Two Hostages Freed by Israeli Forces in Rafah

By Hamodia Staff

Helicopter with the two freed hostages landing at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. (IDF)

In a joint operation by the Shin Bet, IDF and IDF, Fernando Merman and Louis Har, two of the hostages held in Gaza by Palestinian terrorists, were rescued alive from Rafah at approximately 1:00 a.m. local time.

Rescued hostages Fernando Simon Marman (L) and Norberto Louis Har (R).

The IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, updated the details of the operation.

“Tonight we carried out a successful rescue operation in which we rescued Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har who were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak (from the Leimberg-Har family). They are in good condition. Both were held by Hamas in Rafah. They are currently undergoing medical tests at Sheba Hospital.

“The operation was managed by the Shin Bet’s Special Operations Command and was carried out by IMM fighters and the Shin Bet’s operational unit. The IDF and Shin Bet have been working on this operation for a long period of time, but conditions were not ripe for it to be carried it out, and they waited until the conditions were proper.

“The operation was very complex in reaching the destination in Rafah. The forces arrived at the target secretly around 1:00 in the morning, and carried out a very complex operation on a building complex − on the second floor where the abductees were held. It was covert work was cloaked with secrecy and intimate intelligence.

“When the forces got there − they broke-in into the building. There were armed guards in the nearby houses, and inside the house there were 3 terrorists who were guarding the abductees.

“The forces stormed the building in a hot burst using an explosive charge because the door was locked. They entered the building, pulled the two adult abductees (61 and 70 years old) out of the building. A shootout took place on the spot, including a very wide fire that was launched from the air, and fire was opened from the nearby buildings. The Air Force attacked there strongly − there are many terrorists who were killed tonight in this operation.

“In the action there is one fighter who was slightly injured, beyond that − there are no casualties to our forces.

“After that the force cut off combat, and forces of the 7th Brigade with the 13th Fleet escorted the forces out on NMRs (Merkava APCs). The whole operation lasted for about an hour at the location itself from end to end. They arrived at a nearby airstrip, and we brought the abductees there and from there they took off to Sheba − where they are now meeting their families.

“In the situation room of the operation, the head of the Shin Bet, the chief of staff, the police commissioner, the commander of the navy, the head of the military, the head of the military, the commander of the air force sat shoulder to shoulder, and they all worked that night.

“The Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister also came to the situation room.

“The commander of the Southern Command commanded the airstrikes from the command in Be’er Sheva, together with the commander of the 98th Division.

“At Sheba Hospital, the abductees are now meeting their families.

“It was a night with a lot of tension but a very exciting result.

“We have another 134 abductees and we remember that we will continue to do everything we can to return them home.”

Sheba Medical Center reported that after an initial medical examination, the condition of the two released hostages is defined as good, and they are now staying in an isolated ward of the hospital.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hailed it as an “impressive rescue operation.”

Further details of the operation have been provided by various IDF sources.

To surprise the Hamas forces stationed there, the “Shaboura” battalion of Hamas in Rafah was attacked during the operation.

The commander of the operation on location was Lt. Col. Dan Goldfuss, the commander of the 98th division, who is responsible for maneuvering in the Khan-Younis sector that borders Shaboura. The 5515th mobility unit of the division carried out the release, as well as the extrication of the abductees and fighters under heavy fire. The unit also covertly transported the troops during the operation. The 7th Armored Brigade formed the security and reserve force for the operation, covering the tanks.

The Gaza Ministry of Health reported that 52 Palestinians were killed in the bombings conducted while the rescue operation was taking place.

The two rescued hostages held dual Argentine and Israeli citizenship. The President of Argentina Javier Milei congratulated the security forces for rescuing the two kidnapped Argentine citizens, and noted that during his visit to Israel, he spoke with Prime Minister and the President about the release of Marman and Luis Har.

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