IDF Releases Details on the Daring Rescue Mission of Hostages

By Yoni Weiss

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Monday. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The IDF executed a highly sophisticated and daring nighttime rescue operation in Rafah, Gaza, successfully liberating two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Har (70), who had been kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak on Oct. 7. The hostages, both Israeli-Argentine nationals, were found to be in good condition, baruch Hashem, and were promptly transported to Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital for comprehensive medical examinations.

This intricate operation was a collaborative effort involving various elite units, including the IDF, Shin Bet, Israel Police special counterterrorism force (Yamam), the 7th Armored Brigade, Shayetet 13 Naval Command, and the Israeli Air Force. The strategic use of airstrikes in Rafah served as a diversion, allowing the specialized rescue unit to enter the targeted building at approximately 1:00 a.m. The ensuing operation faced resistance from Hamas terrorists, resulting in a prolonged firefight.

IDF spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, emphasized the meticulous planning and intelligence that contributed to the successful execution of the mission. He also acknowledged the inherent risks associated with such operations.

“We’ve been working a long time on this operation,” IDF spokesman Lt Col. Richard Hecht said. “We were waiting for the right conditions.”

The hostages were being held on the second floor of a building that was breached with explosives during the raid, which saw heavy exchanges of gunfire with surrounding buildings, Hecht said.

Argentine President Javier Milei, who had personally requested the release of the hostages during a recent visit to Israel, lauded the operation on social media. In his post, Milei expressed gratitude to the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Israel Police for their role in successfully rescuing the Argentine nationals. He reiterated his condemnation of Hamas terrorism and underscored his commitment to the well-being of the kidnapped individuals.

The IDF update further revealed that the extensive firepower directed at Rafah was a crucial element in creating the conditions for the successful rescue operation. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were present in the operations room throughout the operation, highlighting the gravity and significance of the mission.

In a statement following the rescue, Gallant commended the security forces for their impressive operation and emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to continue efforts for the safe return of kidnapped individuals.

It’s worth noting that five family members, including Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, were initially kidnapped to Gaza on that fateful Simchas Torah from Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak. Earlier, two other family members, Mia and Gabriela, had been released from captivity after 53 days. Clara Marman was also among those released, marking the conclusion of a challenging and distressing ordeal for the entire family.

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