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Two Hostages rescued from Rafah by the IDF

Photo source: IDF website

Today (Monday), the IDF allowed the publication of a successful and complex rescue operation that had been carried out in Rafah, during which two Israeli abductees were rescued: Fernando Simon Merman (60), and Louis Norbatu Leinberg Har (70). Louis is the husband of Clara Marman, Fernando’s sister, who was released during the ceasefire in November. The two, both residents of Nir Yitzhak, were abducted from their homes on October 7th and held by Hamas in Rafah. According to reports, the two were held on the second floor of a building in the heart of the city; a special force that included the cooperation of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the police SWAT broke into the building where the abductees were held by many terrorists, and managed to rescue them safely, and in good condition.

There is no doubt that additional details about the heroic operation will be revealed in the future, and this is an operation that will enter the history books. This is the second time the IDF has managed to rescue hostages proactively by use of force – when at the first time, in the end of October, the solider Uri Magidish was released. The remaining hostages (more than 100) arrived in Israel through the hostage deal, and Hamas now has 134 hostages, including several dozen who are no longer alive.

The successful operation illustrates three things:
First of all, strengthening the security in the IDF’s capabilities – both operational and intelligence. We have already realized that the IDF is unable to carry out dozens of Entebbe operations to resolve the situation; but when real opportunities occur, the IDF is able to realize them.
Second, strengthening the old promise of the IDF and the government, that the military pressure will ease the release of the abducted persons. This is especially important at this time, when negotiations for the release of the hostages are stalled by Hamas’ excessive positions, and will help lower their expectations and demands.
And third, for those who are afraid of IDF actions in Rafah, in terms of intention and ability, the IDF proves that it is not afraid to wreak havoc in the last untouched city in the Gaza Strip, and demonstrates to the world that it can do so in the manner it chooses, and even without harming the civilian population.

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