“We saw them (…) there were a lot of tears, hugs and few words,” said Idan Bejerano, the son-in-law of one of the two Israeli-Argentinian hostages released early Monday in an operation by Israeli forces. in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
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The army, intelligence services and police freed Fernando Marman, 60, and Luis Har, 70, in a large operation including bombings in several parts of the city that left “around 100 dead” according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
The two Israeli-Argentinians, who were kidnapped by Hamas during the October 7 attack on Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in southern Israel, were airlifted to Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv , where they arrived around 3:15 a.m., the establishment said.
“Around 3 a.m. we received a call from the Israeli authorities telling us: Fernando and Louis are in our care, come see them in the hospital. We were in shock. We didn't expect that. But we jumped in the car and got here,” said Idan Bejerano, Luis Har’s son-in-law.
“We were able to see them. From what we have been able to see, they are under medical supervision, bedridden. They seem “Okay”, if I may say so. They undergo a battery of tests, surrounded by doctors and nurses. Most importantly, their family surrounds them,” he added, speaking to journalists outside the hospital.
“When we saw them, the heart was beating at 200 beats per minute, maybe more. There were a lot of tears, hugs, but few words (…) We are happy today, but we did not win. This is just one more step towards the return home of the hostages still held in Gaza, he stressed.
Israeli forces said they identified a building in Rafah where the two hostages were being held, then forced the door with explosives, entered the premises before exfiltrating them, said the army, which reported exchanges of fire in the stride.
The Argentine presidency welcomed this release. Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Israeli authorities were trying by “all possible means” to repatriate the hostages.
According to Israel, there remained in Gaza before these two releases 132 hostages kidnapped on October 7, of whom 29 died.
“Please! Be serious about a deal. The Israeli people need an agreement… as soon as possible,” Bejerano said, echoing hostage families who are urging the government to accept a new truce deal with Hamas that includes the release of the hostages. .