Israel frees two hostages in airstrike, many Palestinians killed in Rafah

Photo: Said Khatib / AFP

The Israeli foreign and interior ministries announced in a joint statement that the UN special envoy, Francesca Albanese, will not be allowed into Israel or the occupied territories. The Ministry of the Interior has been refusing to issue a visa to Albenese for months, and now he has been officially banned.

Foreign Minister Izrael Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel informed that: “if the UN wants to return, then its leaders must clarify publicly what they think of the special envoy’s anti-Semitic words and fire their employee.” Albanese claimed about the October 7th attack that Hamas terrorists did not kill the victims because of their Jewishness, but in response to oppression.

Israel had been planning to release the hostages for a long time, the operation was very complex, so they were waiting for the right conditions.

Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Hart, 70, were held captive by Hamas militants in a second-floor apartment in Rafah. Israeli special forces broke into the apartment at dawn on Sunday, and airstrikes hit the surrounding areas not long after.

Members of the rescue team protected the hostages with their bodies, while fierce fighting broke out between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants.

After the soldiers freed the two hostages, they were taken to a safe place where they underwent a quick medical examination before being taken to hospital. The freed hostages are a bit weak, but they are doing well considering the circumstances.

According to press reports, at least 50 people have already died in the Israeli operation in Rafah supported by airstrikes, the dead include women and children.

One of the buildings destroyed by airstrikes in Rafah on February 12, 2024 - Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

One of the buildings destroyed by airstrikes in Rafah on February 12, 2024 – Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

According to Israel, two hostages were freed early Monday from a heavily guarded apartment held by Hamas. Earlier, US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should not carry out a military operation without guaranteeing the safety of civilians.

The Israeli army rescued two hostages Monday morning in a raid accompanied by airstrikes from the city of Rafah, reports The Both men were abducted by Hamas militants from the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz on October 7. Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, are doing well and were taken to an Israeli hospital.

“We have been working on this operation for a long time. We were waiting for the right conditions,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli army.

Palestinian officials said at least one person was killed in the raid.

Early on Monday morning, Israel attacked the city of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the airstrikes killed 37 people and wounded dozens, reports the

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the attack was violent, and some fear Israel has launched a ground offensive in Rafah.

According to press reports, two mosques and several houses were also hit. According to an Associated Press journalist, the attack took place near the Kuwaiti hospital where some of the dead and wounded were taken.

Israel confirmed the attack, but did not specify the targets or the number of victims.

  • Israel is preparing for the Rafah attack
  • Netanyahu promises to provide a safe escape route for civilians in the city;
  • according to Hamas, any Rafah offensive will “blow up” the hostage exchange negotiations;
  • The Iranian president demanded the exclusion of Israel from the UN.
  • the body of the six-year-old Palestinian girl who called for help a few days ago after Israeli tanks opened fire on her family’s car.
  • Egypt would suspend the decades-old peace with Israel if the offensive against Rafah begins.

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