Warning Cries Grow As Israeli Military Plans To Advance

The Israel Defense Forces revealed last week that two hostages were rescued during an early morning operation in the southern city of Rafah on February 12, the Times of Israel reported.

On the Friday before, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF to plan for an evacuation of Rafah ahead of a ground assault on the city.

Netanyahu announced on February 8 that the military would soon be entering Rafah, which he described as “Hamas’s last bastion.”

An estimated 1.3 million Palestinians displaced from northern Gaza are believed to have taken refuge in Rafah, according to the UN. However, the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that it was not possible to eliminate Hamas while leaving “four Hamas battalions in Rafah.”

Netanyahu’s office announced that for the operation in Rafah to begin, the civilian population must evacuate the combat zones. The prime minister ordered the Israeli defense establishment and the IDF to present a dual plan to evacuate the civilian population and disband Hamas’s remaining battalions.

In the early morning raid, Israeli special forces entered Rafah to rescue the two hostages being held in an apartment building under guard as the IDF began airstrikes on the city.

Prime Minister Netanyahu described the rescue as one of the “most successful rescue operations” in the country’s history.

Special forces breached the second-floor apartment shortly before 2:00 a.m. local time using explosives. The three Hamas guards inside the apartment were killed and the two hostages, both from Argentina, were rescued while a Navy unit and an armored brigade provided cover fire.

The men, 70-year-old Louis Har and 61-year-old Fernando Marman, had been abducted on the morning of October 7 from Kibbutz Nur Yitzhak.

Following their rescue, Har and Marman were airlifted to Sheba Medical Center in Israel where they were reunited with family.