Israel frees 2 hostages, Gaza officials say 67 killed in Rafah

Feb 13, 2024

Doha/Jerusalem: Israel frees two Israeli-Argentinians hostages organized by hamas Refa furiously on monday rescue operation In which 67 Palestinians died in the southern part Gaza The city where approximately one million civilians have taken refuge from months of bombing.
A mission involving Israeli forces, the Shin Bet security service and a special police unit freed Fernando Simon Marmon, 60, and Lewis Heyer, 70, the military said. They were among 250 people captured during an October 7 raid by Hamas militants. Due to which Israel's war on Gaza started. More than four months later, much of the densely populated land on the Mediterranean Sea is in ruins, with 28,340 Palestinians killed and 67,984 injured, according to Gaza health officials.
The Israeli military says 31 hostages were dead by that time, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday's rescue showed that military pressure must continue and he ignored international alarm over the planned ground attack on Rafah. done.
US President Joe Biden, who is becoming increasingly vocal that Israel should not launch ground attacks in Rafah without a plan to protect civilians, is due to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah on Monday, drawing diplomats from Western capitals to step up pressure. Are on tour. For ceasefire.
A Reuters journalist at the scene in Rafah saw a vast field of debris where buildings, including a mosque, were destroyed. Israel says many of those killed are terrorists; The Gaza ministry says 70% are civilians. “I have been collecting my family's body parts since the morning,” Ibrahim Hassouna said, as a woman knelt over the body of a small 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 razed with explosives during heavy gunfire along with surrounding buildings. “We've been working on this operation for a long time,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. “We were waiting for the right circumstances.” The Argentine government thanked Israel for rescuing the two men, whom it said were dual citizens.
A relative of one of the hostages said he had seen the two freed men going to their rescue and found them “a little weak, a little thin, a little pale”, but overall in good condition. Hayer's son-in-law Aidan Begarano said that the hostages were sleeping when “within a minute” commandos were in the building and covering them while fighting off the hostages. “We were a little surprised, we didn't know, we didn't expect it,” he said of the rescue. The Israeli military said the airstrikes were timed to coincide with the raid to allow the evacuation of its forces.
Hassouna, displaced from northern Gaza, said his relatives were killed by the military operation at least 4 km away. “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 damaged in more than an hour of attacks by Israeli warplanes, tanks and ships, which also damaged tents where people had taken shelter.
The injured children were lying in Kuwait Hospital in Rafah waiting for treatment. “We were in the tent, me and my whole family, when the bullets came at us,” said Mai al-Najjar, who was hit by shrapnel in the shoulder and face. As she ran away she fought back tears as she told how her father was killed in the car. Doctor Wael Shaqfa said that within minutes dead and injured people started arriving. “Some people's legs were cut off and some hands were cut off, children, women, elderly and men,” he said.

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