Israeli forces successfully rescued two Israeli hostages held in the Gaza city of Rafah, officials announced early Monday.
In a joint operation overnight, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Security Authority and Israeli police rescued Fernando Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, and evacuated them by helicopter to the hospital. Sheba Tel Hashomer within Israel. Footage later released by the IDF showed Merman and Har hugging and hugging their families.
“The hostages… were held captive in harsh conditions. They were intentionally held in the middle of a civilian neighborhood inside a civilian building to try to prevent us from rescuing them. But we did,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said. in a video. message this morning. “Fernando Marmon and Luis Har are now home in Israel. They have undergone medical examinations and have been reunited with their families.
“This rescue mission underlines the importance of our ground operation in Gaza, including Rafah, when conditions allow. One hundred and thirty-four men, women, children and elderly people remain held hostage in Gaza,” Hagari added. “We have a moral obligation to bring all of our hostages home, and that is an obligation that we will continue to do everything in our power to fulfill.”
NETANYAHU DECLARES 'VICTORY IS WITHIN REACH' AS HAMAS REDUCES TO 'LAST REMAINING BASTION'
Merman and Har were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7, the day Hamas launched its attack on Israel.
Forces from the IDF Navy SEALs, the Shin Bet special operations unit and the Israeli police counterterrorism unit arrived at a building in Rafah to carry out the rescue operation, according to the IDF. The operation took place around 1:00 local time.
“Fernando and Louis, welcome home,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “I congratulate our brave fighters for the bold action that led to their release. Only continued military pressure, until complete victory, will bring the release of all our hostages. We will not miss any opportunity to bring them home.”
An IDF spokesman told reporters in a briefing that the forces managed to covertly reach the building and enter the second floor before blowing up the apartment door with an explosive and killing the three terrorists holding the two hostages.
The IDF and the Shin Bet had been working on the operation for several weeks based on intelligence, an IDF official told Axios. The Israeli Air Force carried out heavy strikes on Rafah as a diversion to allow the rescue.
UN HEAD BREAKS SILENCE ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE BY HAMAS TERRORISTS AND AGREES TO INVESTIGATE THE OCTOBER 7 ATTACK
Gaza's Hamas-run Health Ministry said dozens of Palestinians were killed in the bombing, Al Jazeera reported.
Israeli officials notified the Biden administration about the operation once it was completed, according to Axios.
As of Monday, 134 of the more than 240 hostages kidnapped on October 7 remained in Gaza. More than 100 were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement in November. This includes Har's wife, who is also Marman's sister, and Marman's other sister and niece.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Qatar and Egypt have been trying to broker a new hostage deal, but Israel and Hamas have not yet reached an agreement.
Fox News' Greg Norman contributed to this report.