News Digest — 2/12/24

Hostages Rescued From Rafah Arrive At Sheba Hospital, Netanyahu Reacts

Two Israeli hostages arrived at Sheba Hospital after they were rescued from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, and brought back to Israel, by a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police operation, the IDF announced early Monday morning (12th).

The hostages, Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Har (70), were kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.

The two hostages were rescued as part of an operation that began with heavy IDF airstrikes in the Shabura district in Rafah.

The IDF also said that the hostages were held on the second floor of a building in the heart of Rafah.  The forces entered the building stealthily, as the surrounding apartments were full of armed terrorists.

Additionally, the IAF stopped an attempt by Hamas to hit the rescuers leaving the scene.

The IDF stated that both hostages are in good medical condition and were transferred for medical examination at the Sheba Medical Center.

“Fernando and Louis, Welcome back home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday (12th).

“I salute our brave fighters for the bold action that led to the liberation.  Only the continuation of military pressure until complete victory will result in the release of all our hostages.”

“We will not miss any opportunity to bring them home,” he concluded.

Sheba Medical Center also released a statement on the condition of the hostages, saying, “Early in the morning, two Israeli hostages who were freed by our forces from the Gaza Strip arrived at the Sheba Medical Center.  After an initial medical examination, the condition of the two is defined as good and stable, and they are now staying in a designated compound.”

“These are sensitive moments for the families and for the returnees to Israel,” the statement continued, “we ask to maintain their privacy  and dignity.  We are happy for their return home and wish for the return of all the abductees.  A media statement will be issued later.  We will continue to update.”

President Isaac Herzog stated on X Monday morning (12th), “A salute to everyone who brought Frenando and Louis home in a daring rescue operation.  We will continue to act in every way to return all the abductees to their homes.”



IDF Spokesperson Reveals Details Of Traumatic Hostage Rescue

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Monday morning (12th) gave a statement on the Sunday night (11th) rescue of two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman (60 ) and Louis Har (70) during an IDF operation in Rafah.

In his statement, Hagari said, “This was a complete rescue operation carried out under fire in the heart of Rafah,and based on quality intelligence.  The ISA’s operational unit, the Police, Southern Command Shayetet 13 and Brigade 7 of the Armored Corps carried out this professional and precise action.  This is an operation which we prepared for over the course of sometime – the necessary preparations were made and we waited for conditions which would allow it to be carried out.”

“At 1:49a.m. the special forces broke into the building in Rafah.  The hostages were on the second floor.  From the moment we began the operation, the soldiers embraced Louis and Fernando and began a difficult gunfight.  Aerial support allowed the force to cut contact and hit the Hamas terrorists.  The soldiers pulled the hostages out of the apartment, and they were rescued under fire until they reached the safe area.  It was a successful and very moving night.”

He added, “Even after the successful rescue operation, we do not forget that 134 hostages are being held in Gaza.  I turn to them with a message:  If you hear me, know that we are very determined to bring you home, and we will not miss any opportunity for that.  We will continue to make every effort to bring all the hostages home.”

The forces arrived at the destination secretly around 1:00 in the morning, and carried out a very difficult operation on a building complex, on the second floor where the hostages were kept.  When the forces arrived at the building, they broke into it, where three terrorists were guarding the hostages.

The forces stormed the building using explosives, entered it from the roof and broke through the door to the second floor, from which they pulled the two hostages out.  A gun battle developed at the scene while the Air Force attacked in the area and fire was also opened from nearby buildings.  A Black Hawk helicopter took Louis and Fernando to Sheba Medical Center, where their relatives were waiting.

One IDF soldier was slightly injured in the operations, but beyond that there were no injuries to the Israeli forces.



Hamas In Complete Shock: The Gates Of Hell Have Opened On The Terror Group

Hamas is in complete shock following the dramatic rescue operation in Rafah, in which hostages Fernando Marman and Louis Har were freed from captivity.  In the statement published by Hamas on Monday (12th), there is no mention of the kidnapped individuals, only the losses on the Palestinian side.

“The Nazi occupation army’s attack on the city of Rafah last night, and its horrific massacres against defenseless civilians and helpless children, women and elderly who have so far lost their lives over a hundred times, is considered a continuation of the people’s genocide and forced displacement attempts…being carried out against our Palestinian people,” Hamas wrote in a statement.   

Lebanese news station  Al-Mayadeen  reported from Rafah, that the “occupying army used heavy firepower during the invasion of an Israeli special forces unit, and the resistance lasted for hours…” It added, “the looting began after one o’clock in the morning and various types of helicopters and fighter jets were used.”



Argentina President Thanks Israel For Hostage Rescue

Argentina President Javier Milei praised the IDF operation to rescue hostages Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, which was carried out late Sunday night (11th) under heavy fire in Rafah.

“The Office of the President thanks the Israeli Defense Forces , the Shabak, and the Israeli Police for having successfully completed the rescue of Argentines Fernando Simon Marman (80 and Louis Har (70), who had been kidnapped since last October 7 by the terrorist group Hamas,” Milei’s office said in a statement.

“During his visit to the State of Israel, President Javier Milei reiterated to President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the request for the release of each of the Argentine hostages, and continues to firmly maintain his condemnation of Hamas terrorism.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also responded to the operation, tweeting, ‘There is no greater mitzvah than redeeming captives.’  (Maimonides)



Gallant: IDF Intelligence Work Will Lead To ‘Realistic’ Hostage Deal

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a video Sunday (11th) that the intelligence that the IDF has made in the field in the Gaza Strip over recent days and weeks is what will lead to a ‘realistic’ hostage deal.

Sunday’s (11th) weekly cabinet meeting took place at the military’s security division to show ministers a display of some of the findings, which included “many maps, communication devices, documents, computers, and hard drives, as well as armaments such as missiles and explosives,” said Gallant in a video statement while standing in the middle of the room full of items.

“We penetrated into the heart of Hamas’ most sensitive places, and are using their intelligence against them,” he said of all the electronic and other material that has been thoroughly examined by the IDF’s intelligence collection and technical spoils unit.

“All of this is a result of deepening our penetration into the heart of Hamas’ abilities,” Gallant added, and “the deepening of the operation brings us closer to a realistic deal for the return of additional abductees.”

The defense minister thereby expressed his support for Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position that military pressure is what will bring Hamas to agree to a reasonable price for all the hostages still remaining in their hands since October 7, of whom at least 32 have been declared dead by the IDF.

Netanyahu had called “delusional” the most recent deal Hamas suggested, where among other things, they demanded 4.5 months of ceasefire ending with a complete IDF withdrawal from the coastal enclave.  Additionally Hamas would have the ability to choose 500 hardened terrorists to be released from Israeli prisons among 1,500 in total, in exchange for the hostages.

On Friday (9th), Kan News ran a report on the storehouses of booty that have been collected in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.  About NIS 25 million in cash, including Egyptian and Jordanian money, has been found, with tens of thousands alone found in the home of Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

There were found shipping containers full of ammunition, RPGs and guns, the vast majority of them either Russian or Chinese, and Kalashnikov rifles, from Iran.  Boxes upon boxes of explosives and rockets actually made in Iran covering tables.

Unit commander Lt.Col. Motti Zaversky pointed out that this amount was brought out after the IDF destroyed other military equipment in the Gaza Strip.  

The enemy has become more and more “professional” over the years, he noted, showing handwritten battle-training manuals as an example.

But perhaps, one of the most shocking discoveries, the 20-year veteran said, was a baby doll found in one of the terror tunnels, with mock life-saving equipment attached to it.  It was there to prepare for infant hostages, Zaversky said simply.  “It shows premeditation and cynicism and a method of planning that in my eyes is simply inhuman.  And I admit that seeing this item every day is a kick to the stomach.”



Iranian President: The Zionist Entity  Will Depart The World

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated that the Iranian people have prevailed over all the plots of the enemy and exited the conflict for good.

In a speech Sunday (11th), delivered to mark 45 years since the Islamic revolution, he stated that the revolution was an act of jihad by mujahideen martyrs, and the Iranian people.

He stated that the Iranian people have marched on from the revolution for 45 years, and had been saved from military attacks against it for that long a period of time, with the upper hand militarily, and leaving its opponents disappointed and demoralized.

He declared Iran the most independent nation in the world, being neither part of the East nor the West, and did not accept instructions from any power.  He added that the time when foreign powers could make decisions for Iran was over and that the Islamic revolution promised true freedom.

He emphasized that Iran would not allow foreign governance of even a foot of Iran and that its military capabilities deter attacks against it.  He proved this by stating that no one is discussing a military option against Iran anymore.

He noted that the war in Gaza has shown the true face of the USA and Israel, and stated that the international community must internalize that the Zionist entity should depart the world and that Palestine was the first order of business for the Islamic world.  He likewise insisted that Jerusalem needed to be liberated.

Raisi concluded by saying that Palestine had become the most important matter for humanity and that mankind needed to disconnect from the Zionist entity.  He added that one of the first steps that was the most important to take was removing the Zionist entity from the UN.



UNRWA’s “Nobel Prize For Genocide” – Dr. Dan Diker

Norwegian Labour MP Asmund Aukrust recently nominated the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to receive a Nobel prize.  The UNRWA nomination comes as the world bears witness to incontrovertible  evidence of UNRWA employees’ direct role in the Hamas mass terror invasion of Israel on October 7, 2023.  

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer testified before Congress on January 30, 2024, documenting UNRWA employees’ incitement of the murder of Jews and glorification of the Hamas massacre.  “In November 2023, we sent a report to the UN on 20 teachers who celebrated the October massacre.  In March, together with the organization Impact-se, we identified 133  UNRWA teachers who promoted hate and violence toward Israel on social media….The core problem with UNRWA is that the very purpose of the agency is to perpetuate the war of 1948, and to send the message to Palestinians that the war of 1948 isn’t over.”

UNRWA isn’t the only worthy nominee for the “Nobel Prize for genocide.”  The South African government is another leading candidate for its abominable and unforgivable referral of Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of genocide.

Just months before South Africa’s ICJ petition was submitted, the ruling African National Congress (ANC)  teetered on the verge of bankruptcy.  Almost magically, following South Africa’s minister of international relations, Dr. Naledi Pandor’s, October 23, 2023, visit to Tehran, it was reported that the ANC’s finances had “stabilized.”  Pandor’s visit was almost immediately followed by South Africa’s full-throated accusation of genocide against Israel.  Soon after, the South African Parliament voted in favor of severing diplomatic ties with Israel.

The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.  (South African Jewish Report)