Israel announces that it has freed two Hamas hostages on the night of February 11 to 12 during an operation carried out in Rafah, where the majority of Palestinians have taken refuge. Hamas denounces an offensive which left “around 100 dead”.
Two new Hamas hostages have been released. The releases took place on the night of Sunday February 11 to Monday February 12 during a “joint operation between the IDF, the Shin Beth (Internal Security) and the Israeli police” carried out in Rafah. Those released are two men, “Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70” who were kidnapped in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak during the attack carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7. The two men “are in good medical condition” according to the press release from the Israeli services and were treated at Sheba hospital, in Ramat Gan, “in a stable condition” specified Arnon Afek, associate director general of the hospital.
Two hostages rescued during a mission last night in Rafah.
During a joint operation between the IDF, the ISA and the Israeli police, 2 Israeli hostages from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak were rescued: Fernando Simon Marman (60 years old) and Louis Har (70 years old).
— IDF (@IDF_IDF) February 12, 2024
Israel welcomes the night operation carried out in Rafah and the release of the hostages, but Hamas for its part denounces an attack which left “around 100 Palestinians dead”. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Israeli army to prepare an offensive on Rafah, the border crossing with Egypt where most of the 1.4 million Palestinians have taken refuge since the start of the war between Israel and the Hamas according to the UN. But the IDF assures that its operation is not part of this offensive and was aimed at recovering hostages. Several states have warned of the “humanitarian catastrophe” that an attack on the overpopulated city considered by Benjamin Netanyahu as the “last bastion” of Hamas would cause. The Israeli Prime Minister promised that “safe passage [sera assuré pour] the civilian population so that they can leave” Rafah on the American channel ABC. American President Joe Biden, for his part, called on his ally to guarantee “the security of the Palestinian population”.
Still 130 hostages held according to Israel
While negotiations are underway between Israel and Hamas to try to find a new agreement on a truce and the release of the last hostages, Hamas warned on February 11 that the offensive envisaged and prepared by Israel would “torpedo” any agreement . According to the Islamist group in power in Gaza, a series of Israeli strikes launched against Rafah left more than 50 dead, hitting around ten houses and three mosques in different sectors of Rafah.
The fate of the hostages continues to cause concern. Around 250 people were kidnapped in Israel on October 7 and 105 hostages were released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners during a week-long truce negotiated in November. After the release of the two hostages on the night of February 11 to 12, 130 people are still being held by Hamas, including 29 who are dead according to Israeli estimates.