February 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Rescues Two Hostages From Gaza

February 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Rescues Two Hostages From Gaza

Latest Developments

Israeli special forces rescued two hostages — Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70 — from Rafah in southern Gaza in the early hours of February 12. “We have prepared for this operation for some time, with the necessary preparations made and waiting for conditions that would allow its implementation,” said Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. Hamas terrorists kidnapped the two men from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7 when Hamas carried out a massive attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people.

Expert Analysis

“Israel’s rescue of two hostages in Rafah is proof that the Hamas terrorist organization is holding hostages there and using Gazans who sheltered in the city as human shields. Hamas continues to exploit civilian areas of Gaza, to hold hostages, and to use them to hide its terrorist infrastructure. Recently, Hamas has suffered losses in other parts of Gaza. It is trying to hold on to Rafah in order to use it as a springboard to reclaim power in Gaza.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Hamas is relying on external pressure to prevent Israel from entering Rafah, but this plan is flawed. Over the last four months, Israel has demonstrated that it is committed to dismantling Hamas and rescuing all the hostages. Without Hamas surrendering and releasing all the hostages, Israel is unlikely to halt its mission to eliminate Hamas in Gaza.”Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

A Complex Rescue Operation in Rafah in Gaza

The IDF and Israeli police special forces, alongside members of the Israeli Security Agency, carried out the “complex rescue operation under fire in the heart of Rafah” to rescue Louis Har and Fernando Marman, Hagari said. Israel prepared for the operation for some time, he explained. The operation required defending the hostages from heavy exchanges of fire after the forces arrived at their location. The hostages received a medical examination and were reunited with their families.

Pressure on Israel Over Rafah

Israel faces concern from numerous countries over the potential for a larger military operation in Rafah. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Egypt have all warned Israel against a military offensive into Rafah, which is Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza. Hamas continues to hold 134 hostages in Gaza, according to Adm. Hagari. The IDF believes that 29 hostages have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. Two more Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, have also been held by Hamas in Gaza since 2014 and 2015, respectively.

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