IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari disclosed details of a long-planned but repeatedly postponed operation.
On the night of Sunday February 11 to Monday February 12, in the south of the Gaza Strip, and released two hostages held by Hamas. This operation had been planned for a long time and had been considered several times, but “the conditions have not yet been met to bring it to fruition”declared IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari during a press briefing early in the morning.
On this occasion, the soldier disclosed the details of this ambitious and coordinated operation. The raid was carried out simultaneously by the Israeli army, police and secret services, supported by air support. On the ground, the 98th division, made up of paratroopers and a commando brigade, the Shayetet 13 (13th fleet), the elite unit of the Israeli navy, and the 7th armored brigade were deployed. They were accompanied by agents from the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, and the police’s special Yamam anti-terrorist unit.
A lightning operation
“This was a complex rescue operation, under fire in the heart of Rafah, based on extremely sensitive and valuable intelligence from the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet”, welcomed Daniel Hagari to the press. Upstream, dozens of airstrikes targeted Hamas’ Shabura battalion to create a diversion. The ground operation was launched at precisely 1:49 a.m. Special forces broke in “with explosives” in a building in Rafah, where the two hostages, Luis Harr and Fernando Marman, were being held by three armed terrorists. Other Hamas fighters also stood guard in adjoining buildings.
The IDF spokesperson praised the behavior of the commando. “As soon as they entered the apartment, the soldiers protected the hostages with their bodies, in the heart of violent exchanges of fire”, he greeted. One soldier was slightly injured, but no one was killed in the assault.
The raid lasted no more than a minute. At 1:50 a.m., air support led by the Air Force allowed the commando to be exfiltrated, with the hostages, taken to safety and then to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest hospital. At least 52 Palestinians died in these strikes, according to Hamas. The operation was supervised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the IDF Chief of Staff and the head of the Shin Bet.