Israel Releases Two Hostages; Palestinian TV Alleges 74 Assault Deaths

News Desk2 months ago

During a fierce rescue operation that claimed the lives of 74 Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where almost a million inhabitants had sought safety after months of shelling, Israel on Monday released two Israeli Argentine captives held by Hamas.

According to the military, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Hare, 70, were let free as a result of the operation by the Israeli military, the Shin Bet security service, and a special police unit. They were among the 250 persons taken prisoner by Hamas terrorists during their attack on Israel on October 7, which set off Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

After more than four months, a large portion of the heavily populated Mediterranean strip lies in ruins. According to Gaza health officials, 28,340 Palestinians have died and 67,984 have been injured; many more are thought to be buried beneath the debris.

According to the Israeli military, 31 hostages had perished during that period. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed international concerns over preparations for a land invasion on Rafah, stating that Monday’s rescue demonstrated the need for further military pressure.
Washington said it was pressing Israel for a ceasefire and more funding for Gaza, even as it hailed the freeing of the hostages. The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, informed reporters that while there had been some progress in the talks for a ceasefire, more work needed to be done.

The official television station of the Palestinian Authority, Palestine TV, said that the Israeli operation in Rafah claimed the lives of 74 Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry did not immediately provide an answer.
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 Hassoun, as a woman knelt over the body of a young child nearby. “I only recognized their toes or fingers.”

During the attack, there were intense gunfire exchanges with nearby structures, and an Israeli military spokeswoman stated that the hostages were being held on the second story of a building that had been penetrated with explosives.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht stated, “This operation has been in the works for a long time.” “We were waiting for the right conditions.”
Following their recovery, both men were seen by a relative of one of the hostages, who described them as “a bit frail, a bit thin, a bit pale” but otherwise in good health.

In addition to tearing apart tents where people had sought refuge, residents of Rafah reported that throughout more than an hour of strikes, two mosques and many residential structures were targeted.
Children with injuries were lying at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah, awaiting care.
“My entire family and I were inside the tent when the gunfire started,” stated Mai Al-Najjar, who sustained shrapnel injuries to her face and shoulder. She fought back tears as she told how they had escaped, and her father had been slain in the automobile.

Also Read: No Rest for Gaza Dead: The Power of Swift Burials

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

However, according to Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the US State Department, the US did not think the attacks marked the start of a full-scale ground assault.

Israeli counts indicate that 1,200 people were murdered by Hamas terrorists during their invasion into Israel on October 7. More than 12,000 Hamas terrorists have been killed, according to Israel, and three-quarters of the group’s battalions—four of which were reportedly in Rafah—have been eliminated.

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