In nighttime operation: Israeli troops free two hostages from Hamas captivity

Peloni: Hallelujah!!   Merman and Herr were rescued from Rafah, demonstrating the need for Israel to press onward into the last remaining Hamas stronghold.   This war must not be ended prematurely!

More details in TOI report attached at the bottom.

INN Feb 12, 2024

IDF soldiers rescued hostages Fernando Merman and Louis Herr in a nighttime operation in Rafah overnight Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Both were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7.

They were evacuated by helicopter to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer and their condition is good.

Earlier, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the IDF conducted a series of strikes on terror targets in the area of Shaboura, located in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip.

The strikes have concluded, the statement said. It provided no further details.

The Gaza “ministry of health”, which is controlled by Hamas, claimed that at least 52 people were killed in the Israeli strikes.

Palestinian Arab sources reported that the attacks targeted houses and mosques in the area.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden in a phone conversation that lasted approximately 45 minutes.

The White House said following the conversation that Biden “reaffirmed his view that a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there.”

Earlier, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an official announcement in which it voiced its opposition to an expected Israeli operation in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt stresses its complete rejection of the statements issued by high-level officials of the Israeli government regarding the intention of the Israeli forces to launch a military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, warning of the dire consequences of such an action, especially in light of the risks it entails of exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip,” the statement said.

“Egypt calls for the necessity of uniting all international and regional efforts to prevent the targeting of the Palestinian city of Rafah, which now houses approximately 1.4 million Palestinians who were displaced there because it is the last safe area in the Gaza Strip. It considers targeting Rafah, and Israel’s continued policy of obstructing access to humanitarian aid, as an actual contribution to implementing the policy of displacing the Palestinian people and liquidating their cause, in clear violation of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law, and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly,” it added.

From TOI:

On rescued hostages Fernando Marman and Louis Har

Here are some details on the two rescued hostages, Fernando Marman and Louis Har, from our previous reporting:

Marman, 60, was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak to Gaza by Hamas terrorists on October 7, along with his sister Clara Marman, 62, her partner Har, 70, their other sister Gabriela Leimberg, 59, and Gabriela’s daughter, Mia Leimberg, 17.

The Leimbergs and Clara Marman were released on November 28 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel.

Mia Leimberg gained some particular attention after it emerged that she had had her pet dog Bella with her for the duration of the captivity, and brought her back with her.

Mia Leimberg, 17, center, with her mom, Gabriela Leimberg, right, and her aunt Clara Marman, left, are seen after being released as hostages by Hamas on November 28, 2023. (Screenshot/Courtesy)

Marman and Har remained captive until this morning’s rescue.

Marman, along with his sister Gabriela and her daughter Mia, were visiting the kibbutz for the holiday weekend.

Clara, back in Israel, has said that all five were kept together, and at one point, they were moved in a small car to Rafah, “actually, very close to Nir Yitzhak.” When she, Gabriela and Mia were released, they were sure that Louis and Fernando would be released next.

“We can’t abandon them,” she said previously.

The extended family of five were hiding in their sealed room that morning, trying to keep the heavy door jammed shut with a chair. When the terrorists arrived and shouted at them to leave the room, they were sure they were about to be killed.

Marman, from Kfar Saba, is a handyman who often helped residents of the kibbutz with anything they needed fixed. Har has four children, 10 grandchildren and is a lover of theater.

February 12, 2024 | 2 Comments »

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