Israel rescues two October 7 hostages after 128 days in captivity as commandos launch daring night raid on Rafah

Israel rescues two October 7 hostages after 128 days in captivity as commandos launch daring night raid on Rafah

ISRAELI forces rescued two hostages being kept by Hamas in Rafah under the cover of night and a heavy barrage of airstrikes.

The IDF revealed that Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Norberto Louis Har, 70, were brought safely home after more than four months in the terror group’s captivity.

Marman and Har after their rescue as they reunite with loved ones

ReutersThe site of Israeli strikes in Rafah, Gaza, during the rescue operation[/caption]

GettyInjured Palestinians, including children, flock to hospital following the Israeli attacks on Rafah today[/caption]

The pair were rescued from Rafah where they were reportedly being kept in an apartment guarded by Hamas gunmen.

Israeli troops broke into the flat just before 2am local time on Monday as airstrikes pummelled the surrounding areas.

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari claimed that the rescue team shielded Marman and Har with their own bodies during the intense fighting.

The men, who were held for 128 days, were then taken to shelter where they were checked by doctors and airlifted to a hospital in Israel.

Hagari said troops carried out the “complex rescue operation” under the cover of night after waiting for the right conditions.

He added: “The troops pulled Louis and Fernando out of the apartment and rescued them under fire, until they reached the safe zone.

“It was a very tense and very touching night. Such an operation was made possible thanks to the great sacrifice of the standing army and reserve troops who fell and were injured in the battles.

“Without their sacrifice, we would not have reached this moment.”

Both men were reported to be in good medical condition.

The Israeli operation in Rafah has been met with widespread international criticism as most of the Gaza Strip has now been obliterated as a result of the gruelling war.

And almost 1.5 million Palestinian civilians have fled there to escape the bloodshed.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to crush the “last bastion” of Hamas which he says is hiding in the southern Gazan enclave.

He insisted that the “final terrorist holdout” is an essential part of the four-month-old battle against Hamas.

“Victory is within reach. We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions and Rafah, which is the last bastion,” he said.

Dozens of people, including children, have already been killed as a result of Israeli strikes on the city.

Haunting images show the city in ruins as flames burn in the rubble and emergency workers fight to extinguish them.

Hospital officials in Rafah have claimed that at least 50 Palestinians were killed in the strikes overnight – but this figure is unverified.

Netanyahu said on Monday morning: “Fernando and Luis – welcome home. I salute our brave warriors for the bold action that led to their liberation.”

Both men are Argentinian citizens who also have Israeli citizenship – they were snatched by Hamas on October 7 from a Kibbutz.

Marman’s sister and Har’s partner, Clara Marman, was also taken hostage.

But she was released during the November ceasefire along with their other sister Gabriela and her daughter Mia.

Since Hamas’ brutal attack in Israel on October 7, Gaza’s Health Ministry claims over 28,000 Palestinian people have died.

UN figures estimate the number to be around the same including almost 70,000 who are injured.

The international agency also thinks over 7,000 people are dead and buried underneath the rubble in Gaza – making the real death toll over 100,000.

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, they killed around 1,200 people and kidnapped 250 others.

Over 100 of those hostages were freed during the only brief ceasefire in November, and Israel says over 100 remain in captivity.

Some of the remaining hostages are thought to be dead – three were tragically killed by Israel’s own soldiers after escaping Hamas terrorists in December.

Biden, Netanyahu’s biggest ally since the war began, even urged caution over the strikes.

And Egypt has threatened to suspend its peace treaty with Israel entirely if ground troops are sent in.

ReutersAftermath of an Israeli strike on a house in Rafah[/caption]

Fernando Simon Marman, one of the rescued Israeli hostagesReuters

ReutersNorberto Louis Har, 70, also rescued on Monday[/caption]

A firefighter extinguishes a burning car hit by an early Israeli strike in RafahReuters

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