Israel air hits Rafah, freeing two hostages; Gaza health officials report 67 died

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Under the cover of airstrikes, Israel released two Israeli-Argentine prisoners in Rafah on Monday. According to local health officials, the strikes resulted in the deaths of 67 Palestinians and injured dozens more. Rafah is located in the southern part of Gaza and serves as the final refuge for almost one million displaced inhabitants.

Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Hare, 70, were both released from custody as a result of a joint operation that was carried out by the Israeli military, the Shin Bet security service, and the Special Police Unit in Rafah, according to the Israeli military.

On October 7, the two men were taken captive by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, according to the Israeli military. They were among the approximately 250 individuals who Israel claims were taken into custody during the militant attack that served as the impetus for its war on Gaza.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, “We have been working on this operation for a very long time.” “We were waiting for the right conditions.”

Hecht stated that the hostages were being kept on the second floor of a building that had been breached with explosives during the attack.

Gaza health officials report 67 died
In Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians survey the site of an Israeli mosque strike amid the ongoing confrontation with Hamas, February 12, 2024. (Image: REUTERS)

During the operation, there were intense exchanges of gunfire with the buildings that were located in the nearby area. In the hospital, they were seen sitting on a sofa with their family, according to an image that was distributed to the media.

The government of Argentina expressed gratitude to Israel for rescuing the two individuals, who were reportedly dual citizens of Argentina, according to the authorities.
The Israeli military has stated that its air attacks had occurred at the same time as the raid in order to facilitate the extraction of its personnel.

In Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians survey the site of an Israeli mosque strike amid the ongoing confrontation with Hamas, (Image: REUTERS)

A total of 67 individuals had been killed, according to the Gaza health ministry, and the number might potentially increase while rescue operations were currently underway. In a photograph taken at the scene, a large expanse of debris was visible, indicating that structures had been completely destroyed.

According to Palestinians in Rafah, Israeli warplanes, tanks, and ships carried out a series of raids that lasted for more than an hour, taking down two mosques and several residences. These strikes caused widespread panic among those who had been sleeping.

Once we landed in Rafah a month ago, it was the worst night we’ve had since then. According to Gaza businessman Emad, who is a father of six children, who spoke to Reuters using a chat app, “Death was so close as shells and missiles landed 200 meters from our tent camp.”

In Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians survey the site of an Israeli mosque strike amid the ongoing confrontation with Hamas, (Image: REUTERS)

Some residents were concerned that Israel had started a ground offensive in the city, which is where more than a million people who have been displaced as a result of Israel’s war on Hamas are currently taking refuge because they have nowhere else to go.

According to Hamas, the bombardment on Rafah was a continuation of a “genocidal war” and attempts at forced relocation that Israel has launched against the Palestinian people since the beginning of the conflict.

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During their incursion on October 7, Hamas militants were responsible for the deaths of 1,200 people in southern Israel and the kidnapping of at least 250 others, according to Israeli statistics.

According to the health ministry in the Gaza Strip, which is managed by Hamas, Israel has responded to the Palestinian uprising by launching a military assault on the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the deaths of over 28,000 Palestinians.


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