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Israeli Forces Rescue Two Hostages in Raid on Rafah Amid Ongoing Conflict in Gaza

Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant lauded the operation as 'impressive,' reaffirming Israel's commitment to recovering abducted individuals by any means necessary
03:11 PM Feb 12, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
israeli forces rescue two hostages in raid on rafah amid ongoing conflict in gaza
Israeli Forces Rescue Two Hostages in Raid on Rafah Amid Ongoing Conflict in Gaza
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New Delhi Feb 12, 2024: In an overnight mission in Rafah, Israeli forces rescued two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak. This operation was launched in collaboration between the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the Israel Security Agency (ISA), and the Israeli Police.

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Israeli officials say that two rescued hostages are in "good medical condition" and subsequently taken to an Israeli hospital for medical checks. The details of the raid remain undisclosed; however, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed home the two Israeli hostages who were rescued overnight from Rafah in a raid by the country's forces.

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Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant lauded the operation as "impressive," reaffirming Israel's commitment to recovering abducted individuals by any means necessary
Posting on social media platform X, Netanyahu wrote: "Fernando and Louis, welcome home." He went on to pay tribute to the "fighters" who rescued the two men, adding: "Only continued military pressure, until total victory, will bring about the release of all of our hostages."

Netanyahu's comments follow warnings from the international community against expanding Israel's offensive further into Rafah, where an estimated 1.3 million internally displaced Palestinians are living in fear.

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Israel says it will expand its military operations to the south - with heavy aerial bombardment reported in the Gaza area. A ground invasion in the refugee-packed area could prove disastrous and the US has warned Israel not to attack without a “credible” plan to protect civilians
.The operation is part of Israel's broader military response following a devastating attack on southern Israel on October 7, where gunmen killed over 1,200 individuals and took approximately 240 hostages.

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The international community, including U.S. President Joe Biden, has expressed concern over Israel's planned offensive in Rafah, urging for the safety of the 1.3 million civilians seeking refuge there. Despite these warnings, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated the operation will proceed, with plans to safeguard civilians being formulated.

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In a broader context of ongoing hostage negotiations, two months ago, 105 Israeli individuals, mostly women and children, were released during a week-long ceasefire, including an exchange involving 240 Palestinian women and teenagers from Israeli prisons.

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Additionally, three Russian-Israelis and individuals from Thailand and the Philippines have been freed through separate agreements, showcasing the complex diplomatic efforts involving Qatar, Egypt, and Thailand to mediate these exchanges.

Despite these releases, reports indicate that approximately 136 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza, and about 30 Israeli hostages have been killed since the October 7 attack, as confirmed by Israeli authorities to the victims' families. This ongoing crisis underscores the severe human toll and the intricate geopolitical dynamics at play in the region for the last four months.

Since the onset of the crisis on October 7, 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made five diplomatic visits to West Asia, underlining the international urgency to address the escalating situation.

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum, representing the families of captives, has confirmed that 31 individuals have been killed in the conflict. Despite ongoing negotiations mediated by Qatar and Egypt for a second and more enduring ceasefire, efforts to secure a deal have yet to bear fruit, prolonging the state of anticipation and hope among those involved and hostage families.

The initial count of over 240 hostages taken by militants last October has been subject to revisions as new information emerges. Israeli officials emphasize that one of their primary objectives in the conflict is to leverage military operations to facilitate the release of hostages.

Amid a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 28,000 Palestinians in Gaza, the Israel Defence Forces have managed to rescue earlier three hostages and now two more senior citizens. In addition, three men, who had escaped their captors in northern Gaza, tragically lost their lives to Israeli forces as mistaken identity as three approached an Israeli military position.

As the conflict intensifies, Israel's defence minister announced plans to extend Israel's military offensive to Rafah, located on the Egyptian border. This area has become a refuge for over half of Gaza's 2.3 million population, who are now enduring dire conditions.

Egypt has expressed grave concerns over the potential implications of an Israeli military presence along the border, warning that it could jeopardize the peace treaty established between Egypt and Israel over four decades ago. The possibility of combat extending to Rafah raises fears of Palestinian civilians being forced into Egyptian territory, a scenario Egypt is adamantly working to avoid.

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