In a complex overnight operation, Israeli special forces rescued two hostages from Hamas captivity in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Monday, marking the first successful extraction of captives held by the terror group in months.
The Israel Defense Forces said that Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70, were in good condition after being rescued, following an operation that involved battles with Hamas terrorists and massive Israeli airstrikes in Rafah. Both were later reunited with their families in an Israeli hospital and were said to be in good condition.
The pair had been abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on the morning of October 7, when Hamas-led terrorists killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in a murderous rampage in southern Israel.
Israeli forces say they have rescued two men taken hostage by Hamas in Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza District.
Following the rescue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Only continued military pressure, until total victory, will bring about the release of all of our hostages."
Qatar-based Al Jazeera and other news outlets have reported heavy airstrikes and bombardments by Israeli forces early Monday morning. Health authorities in Gaza say Israeli airstrikes killed 67 people.
A Rafah resident told NHK that at around 1 a.m, he suddenly heard the sounds of airstrikes and a gun battle.
He said these are the first major airstrikes in Rafah since the start of fighting last October.
Netanyahu is determined to launch a ground offensive in the city. He ordered the military to draw up a plan to destroy Hamas while ensuring the safe evacuation of civilians from Rafah.
The plan has been met with concern by the US and by Egypt, which is mediating hostage release negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The international community is worried about more civilian casualties.