Israel reports rescue of two hostages held by Hamas

As of: February 12, 2024 7:52 a.m

The Israeli army says it freed two hostages during a nighttime operation in Rafah. The Israeli military had previously shelled several terrorist targets in the area. Apparently there were numerous deaths.

The Israeli military says it managed to free two hostages during a nighttime operation in Rafah in the Gaza Strip who had been kidnapped by Hamas fighters in the attack on October 7th. Two Israeli hostages were rescued in a joint operation by the Israeli army, the Shin Bet intelligence service and the Israeli police, the military said in a statement.

There are two men aged 60 and 70. They are in good health. The men were freed from the second floor of a building and there was a fierce exchange of fire, said army spokesman Richard Hecht. At the same time, an air strike was carried out to enable the special forces to withdraw, said Hecht.

Conflict parties as a source

In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by the Palestinian and Israeli conflict parties cannot be directly verified by an independent body.

Several dead in attack on Rafah

The military had previously said it had carried out a series of attacks on the southern Gaza Strip that had now been completed. According to several sources, several people were killed. At least 37 Palestinians died, according to local health authorities.

Other sources assume significantly more deaths: the television station Al Jazeera reports 50 deaths. The dpa news agency relies on the Palestinian news agency Wafa. Accordingly, more than 100 people were killed, including children and women. Hundreds of other people were also injured in the intense attacks in various parts of the city. The information cannot be independently verified.

The series of attacks had ended, the Israeli military said in a brief message on Telegram. No details were given. Israel is planning a military offensive on Rafah, which is causing significant international criticism.

More than a million refugees from other parts of the Palestinian territory are stranded in Rafah amid Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his army last week to present a “combined plan to evacuate the population and destroy the Hamas battalions” in Rafah. It is unclear whether the attacks that night were part of the announced offensive.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden once again called on Netanyahu to provide better protection for civilians in the Gaza Strip. In a phone call with Netanyahu, Biden reiterated that an “actionable plan is needed to ensure the safety of the more than one million people seeking refuge there,” the White House said in Washington.

Terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups killed 1,200 people and kidnapped another 250 during their attack on Israel on October 7th. Since then, Israel’s military has launched massive air strikes and a ground offensive against Hamas and its allies in Gaza. There are currently 136 people still in the hands of Hamas, but according to the Israeli military, at least around 30 of them are no longer alive.

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