חילוצם של פרננדו מרמן ולואיס הרדובר צה"ל

It was cleared for publication that during a joint IDF, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), and Israel Police operation in Rafah overnight, two Israeli hostages were rescued, Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Har (70).

Both were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7, together with Louis’ partner Clara Merman, his sister Gabriela Leimberg and her daughter Mia Leimberg, who were freed during the hostage release deal with Hamas in November.

They are both in good medical condition, and were transferred for medical examination at the Sheba Tel Hashomer hospital.

Sheba Hospital said, "This morning, two Israeli hostages who were freed by our forces from the Gaza Strip arrived at the Sheba Medical Center. After an initial medical examination, the condition of the two was determined to be good and they are now staying in a designated compound."

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari provided additional details about the operation, noting that the two hostages were held by Hamas in Rafah. The operation was led by the Shin Bet's Special Operations Command and was carried out by IDF soldiers and the Shin Bet's operational unit.

Hagari also said that the IDF and the Shin Bet have been working on the operation for an extended period of time, but until now the conditions were not ripe to carry it out.

The forces arrived at the destination secretly around 1:00 in the morning, and carried out a very complex operation on a building complex, on the second floor where the hostages were kept. When the forces arrived at the building, they broke into the building, where three terrorists were guarding the hostages.

The forces stormed into the building in using explosives, entered the building and pulled the two hostages out. A gun battle developed at the scene, while the Air Force attacked in the area and fire was also opened from nearby buildings.

One IDF soldier was lightly injured in the operation, but beyond that - there were no injuries to the Israeli forces.

credit: דובר צה"ל
credit: דובר צה"ל
credit: דובר צה"ל

Earlier, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that the IDF conducted a series of strikes on terror targets in the area of Shaboura, located in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip.

The strikes have concluded, the statement said. It provided no further details.

The Gaza “ministry of health”, which is controlled by Hamas, claimed that at least 52 people were killed in the Israeli strikes.

Palestinian Arab sources reported that the attacks targeted houses and mosques in the area.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden in a phone conversation that lasted approximately 45 minutes.

The White House said following the conversation that Biden “reaffirmed his view 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.”

Earlier, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an official announcement in which it voiced its opposition to an expected Israeli operation in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

"The Arab Republic of Egypt stresses its complete rejection of the statements issued by high-level officials of the Israeli government regarding the intention of the Israeli forces to launch a military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, warning of the dire consequences of such an action, especially in light of the risks it entails of exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip," the statement said.

"Egypt calls for the necessity of uniting all international and regional efforts to prevent the targeting of the Palestinian city of Rafah, which now houses approximately 1.4 million Palestinians who were displaced there because it is the last safe area in the Gaza Strip. It considers targeting Rafah, and Israel’s continued policy of obstructing access to humanitarian aid, as an actual contribution to implementing the policy of displacing the Palestinian people and liquidating their cause, in clear violation of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law, and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly," it added.