Israeli soldiers ride a military jeep as they return from southern Gaza
Israeli soldiers ride in a military jeep as they return from southern Gaza on Monday. Photo: Reuters/AMIR COHEN
world

Israel frees two hostages; Palestinian TV says 74 killed in assault

48 Comments
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Emily Rose

Israel on Monday freed two Israeli-Argentine hostages held by Hamas in Rafah in a ferocious rescue operation that killed 74 Palestinians in the southern Gaza city where about one million civilians have sought refuge from months of bombardments.

The mission by the Israeli military, the Shin Bet security service and a special police unit freed Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Hare, 70, the military said. They were among 250 people seized during the Oct 7 raid on Israel by Hamas militants that triggered Israel's war on Gaza.

More than four months on, much of the densely populated strip of land on the Mediterranean is in ruins, with 28,340 Palestinians dead and 67,984 wounded, according to Gaza health officials, with many others believed to be buried under rubble.

The Israeli military says 31 hostages have died in that time, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday's rescue showed that military pressure should continue and he brushed aside international alarm at plans for a ground assault on Rafah.

Washington welcomed the hostage release, but said it was pushing Israel for a ceasefire and increased aid for Gaza.

John Kirby, White House national security spokesperson, told reporters that some progress had been made in negotiations toward a pause in fighting but that more work remained to be done.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority's official television station, Palestine TV, said 74 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation in Rafah. There was no immediate confirmation from the Gaza health ministry, which is run by Hamas.

A Reuters journalist at the scene in Rafah saw a vast area of rubble where buildings, including a mosque, had been destroyed.

"I've been collecting my family's body parts since the morning," said Ibrahim Hassouna, as a woman knelt over the body of a young child nearby. "I only recognized their toes or fingers."

An Israeli military spokesman said the hostages were being held on the second floor of a building that was breached with explosives during the raid amid heavy exchanges of gunfire with surrounding buildings.

"We've been working a long time on this operation," Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said. "We were waiting for the right conditions."

A relative of one of the hostages said he had seen both freed men following their rescue and found them "a bit frail, a bit thin, a bit pale" but overall in good condition.

Edan Begerano, Hare's son-in-law, said the hostages had been sleeping when "within a minute" the commandos were in the building and covering them as they fought the captors.

"We were a bit shocked... We hadn’t expected it,” he said of the rescue, adding that Israel and Hamas need to reach a swift deal to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

Hamas said a further three hostages injured in recent Israeli airstrikes had now died, adding the fate of other wounded hostages was not yet clear.

Israel's military said airstrikes had coincided with the raid to allow its forces to be extracted.

Hassouna, displaced from northern Gaza, said his relatives were killed at least 4 km (2 miles) from the military operation.

"We have nothing to do with anything. Why did you bomb us?" he asked.

People in Rafah said two mosques and several residential buildings were hit in more than an hour of strikes, which also ripped through tents where people had taken shelter.

Wounded children lay waiting for treatment in the Kuwait hospital in Rafah.

"We were in the tent, me and all my family, when the bullets all came at us," said Mai Al-Najjar, who had shrapnel wounds in her shoulder and face. She fought back tears as she described how her father had been killed in the car as they fled.

Israel says many of those killed are militants; the Gaza ministry says 70% are civilians.

RAFAH ATTACK FEARS

Some Palestinians feared Israel had begun a long-expected ground offensive in the city.

But U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the U.S. did not believe the strikes were the beginning of a full-scale ground attack.

Hamas militants killed 1,200 people in the Oct. 7 incursion into Israel, according to Israeli tallies. Israel said it had killed more than 12,000 Hamas militants and taken out three-quarters of its battalions, of which it said earlier that four were in Rafah.

U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk called the prospect of an attack on Rafah "terrifying".

"Those with influence must restrain, rather than enable," he said in a statement.

Many Western leaders have expressed alarm at Israel's offensive while continuing to support the country.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday suggested that the way to reduce civilian casualties would to be stop arms supplies to Israel.

"If the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe we have to think about the provision of arms," he told reporters in Brussels.

The State Department's Miller said he does not believe cutting aid would be "more impactful than the steps Washington has already taken".

A Dutch appeals court said it had blocked the export of F-35 fighter jets parts to Israel over a "clear risk of violations of international humanitarian law" in Gaza. However, the government said it would appeal.

Britain urged Israel to agree to a truce to free its hostages, while Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on a visit to Jerusalem said he had warned Netanyahu not to advance.

The prime minister on Friday ordered the military to create a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah to protect them during the offensive against Rafah.

Asked about evacuation plans for civilians Lieutenant Colonel Hecht said he still didn't know how it would be done.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


48 Comments

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74 killed in assault

It's 100s now

https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/12/middleeast/israel-airstrikes-rafah-ground-offensive-looms-intl-hnk/index.html

.

At least one country make progress and start using common sense.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/dutch-court-orders-halt-export-f-35-jet-parts-israel-2024-02-12/

.

While certain country enjoy lobbyist treatment using their tax payer to pleased those lobbyist in return.

https://www.levernews.com/inside-the-israel-lobbys-new-90-million-war-chest/

https://www.newstatesman.com/the-weekend-interview/2024/02/john-mearsheimer-israel-ukraine-middle-east

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

A Dutch appeals court said it had blocked the export of F-35 fighter jets parts to Israel over a "clear risk of violations of international humanitarian law" in Gaza.

This is what the world should be doing.

Israel is running adds at the Superbowl whilst it starves millions of Gazans and massacres dozens of families.

2 hostages rescued? That brings the total by direct military action to 3. Almost makes up for the 3 Israel personally shot several weeks ago.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

The progress of this carnage would be different if Netanyahu was not PM.

His cabinet includes some men you would not even sit next to on a public bus.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

CapuchinToday 07:36 am JST

2 hostages rescued? That brings the total by direct military action to 3. Almost makes up for the 3 Israel personally shot several weeks ago.

The Israelis would probably tell you they would rather be shot than be detained in Hamas warrens for years.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Yet if they agreed to stop the Genocide and gave the Palestinians a state all hostages would be released tomorrow! Guess they prefer to steal the land, slaughter civilians and drive them from their homes so the settlers. can move in

0 ( +9 / -9 )

sakurasuki, Capuchin and GuruMick- well said!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

The Israelis would probably tell you they would rather be shot than be detained in Hamas warrens for years. - TaiwanIsNotChina

Indeed. Israel's controvesial implementation of the Hannibal directive also likely caused the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians on Oct 7th. But maybe they would have appreciated the choice before having their homes fired upon by IDF tanks and helicopters.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

@Geeter

Westerners...are mewling about an excessive response by Israel. No one was mewling about the allied forces levelling Germany in WW2. 

You've got a perverse view of WW2 history. The two nations that suffered the most by far, the Soviet Union and China, were members of the allied forces. Japan had around 2 million dead, mostly soldiers, and it killed well over 10 times that number, mostly civilians.

If only the Americans had given the civilians of Nagasaki and Hiroshima a warning

They did. It was called the Potsdam Ultimatum, issued in late July 1945. Japan ignored it. They also dropped over a million leaflets warning Japanese civilians to escape their cities. The Japanese govt punished anyone who read them.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The progress of this carnage would be different if Netanyahu was not PM.

His cabinet includes some men you would not even sit next to on a public bus.

unfortunately, YOU wouldn't sit next to them because they are Jews.

Don't drag the rest of us into your hatred,

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Israel frees two hostages; Palestinian TV says 74 killed in assault

Congratulations Israel. Do whatever it takes to protect your people.

Those 74 terrorists killed fulfilled their wishes for death in battle.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

The Israelis would probably tell you they would rather be shot than be detained in Hamas warrens for years.

You speak for the Israeli hostages now as well , hey? They were found not tortured but in an overall good condition -

A relative of one of the hostages said he had seen both freed men following their rescue and found them "a bit frail, a bit thin, a bit pale" but overall in good condition.

So you are wrong , again.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

You speak for the Israeli hostages now as well , hey? They were found not tortured but in an overall good condition -

A relative of one of the hostages said he had seen both freed men following their rescue and found them "a bit frail, a bit thin, a bit pale" but overall in good condition.

So you are wrong , again.

A relative! well, that settles that. We don't need to hear from the hostages themselves.

Remember all those women that media apologists said "looked fine" but later reported being raped by terrorists? Brutalized and held hostage while expecting to die every day for 4 months and "Lets just call it even, waddaya say?

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Ramsey's KitchenToday 08:33 am JST

So you are wrong , again.

You don't know what has happened to the ones that died. In any event, living like a Hamas member for years is torture enough.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I have a solution, free the hostage now!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Indeed. Israel's controvesial implementation of the Hannibal directive also likely caused the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians on Oct 7th. 

Im going to need a source on this. I’ve heard it mentioned here countless times but I’ve never once seen a source posted for it

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

You speak for the Israeli hostages now as well , hey? They were found not tortured but in an overall good condition -

This is simply not true. From an NPR article:

"I spent 49 days in that hell. I am asking, begging from all decision makers: Get the kids out, get all of them out," said 85-year-old Yaffa Adar, who was kidnapped from kibbutz Nir Oz, speaking in a video released by the families group.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"If only Israel would let Hamas kill, rape and torture 1200 men, women and children, not complain, then give them exactly what they want, Hamas pinky promises not to do it again!!"

Lmao exactly. “Bro please don’t do it again even though you got exactly what you wanted from us the first time you did it”

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Yet if they agreed to stop the Genocide and gave the Palestinians a state all hostages would be released tomorrow!

What makes you think this is even remotely true? Polling data shows that Palestinians don’t want a two state solution. They want to control all of Israel

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

unfortunately, YOU wouldn't sit next to them because they are Jews.

Don't drag the rest of us into your hatred, - stan

Let's take Bezalel Smotrich the minister of finance as an example.

In 2005 he was arrested by Shin Bet for suspected terrorism with 700 liters of gasoline in his possesion. Shin Bet's former deputy head of Shin Bet described him as a "Jewish terrorist".

In 2006 he organised an anti-pride demonstration with goats and donkeys calling the gay pride parade "worst than bestiality".

He has on numerous occasions called himself "a proud facist, racist and homophobe. . ."

Most recently he was one of the Knesset members cited in South Africa's ICJ case against Israel as using genocidal rhetoric.

Personally I wouldn't sit next to this man on a bus. And it has nothing to do with him being Jewish. Though I'm not sure he'd be willing to share a bus with a lowly gentile like myself anyway.

Don't even get me started on how disgusting a person minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir is.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-bezalel-smotrich-rode-unfiltered-radicalism-and-unforgiving-politics-to-power/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Israel could have won the release of all the hostages like it did in the first exchange, BUT Netan. and his war mongers are not as interested in winning the freedom of it's citizens as much as they are in Killing and Destroying Gaza the Reoccupying it.

Hamas has offered to release the hostages several times with 3 condition , a complete ceasefire, the IOF pull out of Gaza, Israel release of Palestinians from it's jails. If Netan. was interested in the release of these hostages things could be much better for everyone on all sides.

Make no mistake Netanyahu and his war mongers are out to kill and destroy Gaza then reoccupy it at any cost.

Hamas will always be there but Mr. Netanyahu.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This Gaza Genocide madness has really upset Pres. Biden, he's hemorrhaging US Muslim & Youth vote, both groups organizing, especially to support JFK/3rd party.

Many are recounting Biden's frequent profanity laced conversations with PM "Bibbi" of Israel, who's buy pursuing maximum aggression for his political survival.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This Gaza Genocide madness has really upset Pres. Biden, he's hemorrhaging US Muslim & Youth vote, both groups organizing, especially to support JFK/3rd party.

Many are recounting Biden's frequent profanity laced conversations with PM "Bibbi" of Israel, who's buy pursuing maximum aggression for his political survival.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hamas has offered to release the hostages several times with 3 condition , a complete ceasefire, the IOF pull out of Gaza, Israel release of Palestinians from it's jails. If Netan. was interested in the release of these hostages things could be much better for everyone on all sides.

So let me get this straight: Hamas attacks, murders and kidnaps Israeli civilians and then Israel rewards Hamas for their actions by giving them exactly what they want. Are you serious?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s a shame about the cost.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Those 74 terrorists killed fulfilled their wishes for death in battle.

So killing 74 "terrorists" (caution - IDF number) to rescue two hostages is "proportionate" on top of the 36,000+ (my number) Palestinians already killed as the IDF searches for Hamas and tunnels? Everybody knows it would be impossible to inflict this "proportionality" and "collateral damage" on the Israelis or on any American or European population. There is only one conclusion to draw from this shocking reality: plausible genocide.

"If only Israel would let Hamas kill, rape and torture 1200 men, women and children,

This Oct 7 Israeli atrocity propaganda is still being pushed ad nauseam by Western governments and their MSM as a causa belli and justification for the genocidal liquidation of the Gaza Ghetto despite being way past its shelf life since the world now knows that the IDF killed many Israeli settlers in response to the Hamas military operation.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So Hamas, was it worth it?

Seems they were miss-reading the room.

You started a war. Sorry if that didn't turn out like you wanted. Actually, I'm not sorry. You started it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

the world now knows that the IDF killed many Israeli settlers in response to the Hamas military operation

Yeah, I’m going to need a source on this. This is the second time this this claim has been posted in this thread alone not to mention the countless times I’ve seen it posted on this site without a single source to back it up.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Given the Israeli regime's track record since the Hamas Rebellion, it almost certainly KILLED at least one of those taken prisoner on October 7th while using indiscriminate violence to get these two, who were in NO DANGER except from the Israeli regime's indiscriminate violence and blockade of food and medicine.

So the decision not to agree to the quite reasonable terms for freeing both sides hostages can only be considered a reckless gamble, by Netanyahu, with Israeli lives, for the most craven political reasons.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

""A relative of one of the hostages said he had seen both freed men following their rescue and found them "a bit frail, a bit thin, a bit pale" but overall in good condition.""

""BUT IN GOOD CONDITION"" thank you for stating the truth about these two men.

But in few days Netan. and his media will paint a different picture filled with Propaganda and LIES about their condition and claim they were either Raped, Tortured, Abused, Starved and so on as they claimed with the three women that denied the Rape claims.

Israel IOF almost cut off the hands of Palestinian Gaza prisoners with the plastic straps and handcuffs then kicked them in the face with their boots and rifles, then they turned a round called them Terrorists make one wonder WHO IS THE TERRORIST??

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Torture as entertainment. Beyond sick, beyond inhuman: Nazi levels of evil from the IDF.

https://euromedmonitor.org/en/article/6153

5 ( +7 / -2 )

And round and round we go. Have you guys ever met a person that plays both the protagonist bully and then has the ability to flip on a dime and play the victim with just as much ease when that suits better? You simply can never win with these types. They've got all bases covered to automatically absolve themselves from any semblance of personal responsible and self reflection, and it comes so naturally to them. These daily back and forths are starting to feel like that.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If Palestinians hadn't murdered over 1200 Israelis in their invasion of Israel, the Israelis would not now be retaliating.

Is the Israeli response disproportional? Yes. Two wrongs don't make a right. Still, the Palestinians had to know that stirring up the hornets nest would have consequences. I think they knew what they were doing, and decided the bad press for Israel was worth the tens of thousands of dead and suffering Palestinians. A very cold and mean calculation.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

likely to turn into hundreds of thousands

According to who? The death toll hasn’t even passed 30,000 yet

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

 As it stands right now though Hamas is still fighting and the Palestinian people not only support them but also think that fighting with Israel will result in them achieving their goal of a one state solution (according to polls).

Palestinian peoples goal of a one state solution? Yet you have claimed only a couple of posts above that, quote " " Polling data shows that Palestinians don’t want a two state solution. "

Contradicting yourself there much dude?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

likely to turn into hundreds of thousands

According to who? The death toll hasn’t even passed 30,000 yet

Yep, I'm counting roughly 30,000 dead, 70,000 maimed / wounded and thousands more still burried under the rubble. And the IDF killing spree is nowhere near the end yet. So yep, likely will turn into hundreds of thousands by the time this is over. 70% of the casualties are women and children as you well know.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Palestinian peoples goal of a one state solution? Yet you have claimed only a couple of posts above that, quote " " Polling data shows that Palestinians don’t want a two state solution. "

Contradicting yourself there much dude?

No? It appears you’re unfamiliar with the terminology of the current conflict.

‘One state solution’ refers to a single state that is home to both the Palestinians and Jews.

’Two state solution’ refers to a state for Palestinians and a separate state for Israelis.

Polling data shows that Palestinians don’t want a two state solution (a separate Palestinian state and separate Israeli state) but want a single state for both Palestinians and Israelis (both would live in and be citizens of the same country)

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Yep, indeed I read your post too quickly. Here is the polling on the two options.

In December 2022, support for a two-state solution was 33% among Palestinians, 34% among Israeli Jews, and 60% among Israeli Arabs. 82% of Israeli Jews and 75% of Palestinians believed that the other side would never accept the existence of their independent state. At the end of October 2023, the two-state solution had the support of 71.9% of Israeli Arabs and 28.6% of Israeli Jews.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yep, indeed I read your post too quickly. 

No worries I do the same thing often too

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Here is the polling on the two options.

Israeli Arabs are a significantly smaller portion of society. When polled as a whole:

”Only 35% of Israelis think “a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully,” according to the survey, which was conducted in March and April, prior to the latest violence in the West Bank. That represents a decline of 9 percentage points since 2017 and 15 points since 2013.”

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Israel on Monday freed two Israeli-Argentine hostages held by Hamas in Rafah

Well, Hamas says the hostages weren't held by them. I guess the IDF is trying so hard to disprove its incompetency at doing anything other than targeting children.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Im glad they got the hostages out. Also glad to hear they were both in good health. Another sign that hostages have not been mistreated.

The diversionary tactics of bombing the densely crowded refugee camps of Rafah are deplorable though. One picture in particular, of a young girl blown apart by a bomb, I dont think will ever leave my mind.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Those 74 terrorists killed fulfilled their wishes for death in battle.

The shredded corpse of a young girl hanging from a wall must have put up some fight.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hamas and its supporters must know by now that this is a result of their horrific attack on Israel in October. Israel will not (nor should) stop until every single hostage is accounted for. The cost to Gaza has been huge - but it is a self-inflicted cost. Sadly - all the anti-Semites commenting to the contrary expose their own ignorance on the issue.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Thats funny because my closest friends in Sydney , who attended my wedding and stayed at my house on the North Coast ARE JEWISH......

Oh, so then you understand the IDF is not committing genocide because 21% of Israeli citizens are Arabs--so lots of Israeli-Arab friendships going on.

What we are dealing with then is just plain old fashioned terrorism and the duty to eliminate the terrorists.

Shalom ....and dont throw the "anti Semitic " label around.

But of course one can have Jewish friends but say things antisemitic.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Lots of Jews agree with me. There is no group think among the Jewish people....many varied voices

This is fact which sincere, honest and adult people understand.

The pathologically dishonest and immature types can’t grasp this.

I’d give odds of 50/1 on these types ever getting this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hamas is just using the hostages as negotiation tools and normal civilians as human shield. Typical terrorists acts. Thank you Israel for neutralize the terrorist for the world. Now is the best time to destroy Hamas, once and for all

0 ( +6 / -6 )

This is fact which sincere, honest and adult people understand.

The pathologically dishonest and immature types can’t grasp this.

When you push the narrative that the IDF shot a rocket at a hospital, which was later proven to have been shot by Islamic Jihad terrorists, it must be assumed the far left podcasts one is addicted to are having a deleterious effect, and hysterical reactions like the above are a symptom.

Hamas is just using the hostages as negotiation tools and normal civilians as human shield. Typical terrorists acts. Thank you Israel for neutralize the terrorist for the world. Now is the best time to destroy Hamas, once and for all

Well put.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

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