iexclusivenews – In a daring and complex operation, Israeli special forces managed to free two hostages from the clutches of Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday night.
The operation, which involved fierce battles with the terror group and heavy airstrikes, was the first of its kind in months.
The two hostages, Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70, were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7, when Hamas-led terrorists launched a bloody attack on southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages.
Marman and Har were among the few who survived the ordeal and remained in Hamas custody for over four months.
The rescue operation was a joint effort by the police’s elite Yamam counterterrorism unit, the Shin Bet security agency, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
It began at around 1 a.m. in Rafah, a Hamas stronghold that Israeli forces had not entered during their ground offensive.
According to IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Yamam officers infiltrated the building where the hostages were held on the second floor and “carried out a very complex action” to breach the apartment.
They killed the three terrorists guarding the hostages and “hugged and protected Louis and Fernando with their bodies.”
At the same time, fighting erupted in several nearby buildings, as Hamas terrorists tried to stop the rescue.
The IDF responded with massive airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Rafah area, creating a “night of fire and fury,” as Hagari described it.
The Navy’s Shayetet 13 commando unit and the 7th Armored Brigade also participated in the operation, providing cover and support for the extraction.
Hagari said that “many terrorists were eliminated” in the operation, including at least three in the hostage building.
Hamas claimed that around 100 people were killed, but this could not be independently verified.
The Yamam officers managed to evacuate the hostages from the building and bring them to a safe zone, under heavy fire.
Within an hour, they were transferred to armored vehicles and then to a military helicopter that flew them to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where they underwent medical examinations.
Both hostages were in good condition, Hagari said.
“This was a complex rescue operation under fire based on sensitive intelligence. A professional and accurate operation,” Hagari said.
He added that the IDF and Shin Bet had been working on the rescue plans “for a long time” and were waiting for the right conditions to execute them.
“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,” he said.
One soldier was lightly injured in the operation, but no other casualties were reported among the Israeli forces.