Photo Credit: Courtesy
Louis Har (R) and Fernando Simon Marman were rescued from Hamas in Gaza, February 12, 2024.

In a joint operation by the Shin Bet, IDF and the Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit unit, kidnapped Israelis Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har,70, were rescued alive in an overnight mission in Rafah, Gaza. The two were among those kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak on October 7th.


The US, Egypt and the international community have been trying to prevent the IDF from operating in Rafah. On Sunday, US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that “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.” Netanyahu made it clear that Hamas cannot be eliminated if Hamas battalion are left in Rafah, and that Hamas will be eliminated.

IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, released some details from the operation [translated]:

Tonight we carried out a successful rescue operation in which we rescued Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har who were kidnapped from Nir Yitzhak (the Leimberg-Har family). They are in good condition. They are currently undergoing medical tests at Sheba Medical Center. Both were held by Hamas in Rafah.

The operation was managed by the Shin Bet’s Special Operations Command and was carried out by Yamam fighters and the Shin Bet’s operational unit.

The IDF and Shin Bet have been working on this operation for an extended period of time. Until now, the conditions were not available to carry it out, so they waited until the conditions were presented themselves. The operation was very complex in reaching the destination in Rafah. The forces arrived at the target secretly around 1:00 in the morning, and carried out a very complex operation on a building complex – on the second floor where the abductees were held. It was covert operation with disguises, large air cover, and detailed intelligence.

When the forces got there – they breached the building, there were armed guards in the nearby houses, inside the house were 3 terrorists who were guarding the hostages.

The forces stormed into the building, breaching the locked door on the second floor with explosives. They entered the building, pulled the two adult hostages (61 and 70 years old) out of the building. A shootout took place on the spot, fire was launched from the air, fire was opened from the nearby buildings. The Air Force attacked – there are many terrorists who were killed tonight in this operation. In the action there is one Israeli fighter who was slightly injured, beyond that – there are no casualties to our forces.

After that the force disengaged from the fighting, forces of the 7th Brigade with Shayetet 13 escorted the forces out on Namer APCs (Merkava Armored Personnel Carriers). The entire operation lasted at the target site itself for about an hour from start to finish. They arrived at a nearby airstrip, we brought the abductees there and from there they took off to Sheba Medical Center – where they are now meeting their families.

In the command center of the operation sat shoulder to shoulder the head of the Shin Bet, the chief of staff, the police commissioner, the commander of the navy, the head of the military, the head of the military, the commander of the air force, they all worked that night. The Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister also came to the command center.

The commander of the Southern Command commanded the airstrikes from the command in Be’er Sheva, together with the commander of the 98th Division.

At Sheba Hospital, the abductees are now meeting their families.

It was a night with a lot of tension, but a very exciting outcome.

We have another 134 abductees and we remember that we will continue to do everything we can to return them home.

Both hostages are Argentine-Israeli nationals, and Argentine President Javier Milei, who recently visited Israel, praised the operation.

What is clear is that time is not on the side of Hamas. The longer the IDF operations continue, the more Hamas terrorists are killed and the more likely Israel will be able to free hostages without negotiations. Furthermore, it’s clearly imperative that the IDF operate unrestricted in Gaza.

If the international community were actually concerned about the lives of Gazan citizens, they would openly pressure Egypt to open its shared border with Gaza, and let the Gazans go free to seek sanctuary and asylum in safer countries.

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