What was the rescue operation like under fire for the two Argentine Hamas hostages released by Israel?

The most moving moment for Fernando Simón Marman, Luis Har and their families: this was the meeting at the Sheba Medical Center hospital in Ramat Gan (Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS) (ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES/)

At 3 a.m. this Monday, the Israeli Army called the relatives of Luis Har and Fernando Marman by phone: “We have them in our hands. Come see them at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital”. The news was so good that no one could believe it: “We were shocked”he confessed shortly after Edan Begeranoson-in-law of Har.

Less than two hours earlier, a squad of Israeli soldiers had stormed an apartment Rafahsouth of Loop. They had intelligence that turned out to be accurate: Marman and Har were there. They began day 128 of their captivity after being kidnapped by the terrorist group Hamas in the kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7, 2023, the day Hamas attacked Israel, massacring more than a thousand people and taking more than 200 hostages.

The Special Forces They entered the apartment, located on the second floor, at 1:49 in the morning this Monday, accompanied a minute later by a series of air strikes in the surrounding areaindicated the military spokesman Daniel Hagari. Rescue team members They covered the hostages with their bodies as an intense battle broke out in several places at the same time against Hamas militiamen.

“There was intense fire from the air. Fire was opened from nearby buildings. The Air Force attacked there,” Hagari explained. At the same time, the Navy’s 13th Shayetet commando unit and the 7th Armored Brigade provided cover. The extraction of the hostages was carried out under fire.

Hagari added that “many terrorists were eliminated tonight in this action,” including at least three in the building where Har and Marman were. According to Hamas, about 100 people died.

In the midst of the battle that left only one minor wounded among the Israeli troops, Marman and Har were taken to a nearby “safe zone” and underwent a quick medical check before being airlifted to Sheba Hospital. According to reports, they were in good physical condition. They are only the second and third hostages to be rescued safely. The only previous case was that of a soldier, in November 2023.

The military spokesman said that the operation was based on “accurate information” and that the place had been under surveillance for some time. He added that Netanyahu had met with the army chief and other senior officials while the operation was underway.

Within an hour, they were taken out of Rafah in armored vehicles and then loaded onto a military helicopter that took them to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan for more relaxed examinations.

“This It was a complex rescue operation under fire based on sensitive intelligence. A professional and precise operation,” said Hagari.

“It is the type of operation that we prepared for and we were waiting for the conditions that would make it possible to carry it out,” he said, adding that the IDF and the Shin Bet have been working on rescue plans “for a long time” and concluded: “It was a very tense and very moving night.”

The rescue is a huge halo of hope for the Israelis, although it is a small step towards achieving the release of all the captives. The more than 100 remaining hostages are believed to be scattered and hiding in tunnels, probably in poor condition.

Uri Utin, who defines himself
Uri Utin, who calls himself the “last commander” of kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, poses in front of the house where Fernando Simon Marman and Luis Har were kidnapped (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez) (DYLAN MARTINEZ/)

Har and Marman had been kidnapped together. There is a family bond between them. Har, 70 years old, is Fernando’s brother-in-law (60), being a couple of Clara Marman, another of the Argentine women who had been kidnapped, but who managed to be released along with nine other hostages in the month of November in the middle of a truce between Israel and the terrorist organization. The three are part of a family group that experienced the actions of Hamas firsthand.

At the beginning of December, Clara Marman’s daughter, Guefen Sigal, told a press conference about the moment when members of her family were taken away. Excited without power get the last image you received out of your head From the security room of his family’s kibbutz house, he stated: “Luis (Har) took a selfie from that space where they were waiting for the missiles launched from Gaza to stop exploding.”

But the worst was yet to come. Minutes later they began to hear that the terrorists were entering the house and destroying everything in their path. To avoid them, Luis placed a chair and a stick against the door. He couldn’t help it.

Now there are no other members of that family in Gaza.

Marman and Har hug their families at the Sheba hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel (Israel Defense Forces/via REUTERS)
Marman and Har hug their families at the Sheba hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel (Israel Defense Forces/via REUTERS) (ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES/)

Har’s son-in-law, Edan Begerano, told reporters that he and his wife had been able to see the freed hostages at the hospital. They were both pale and thin, but they communicated well and were not disoriented.

Luis Har He is a renowned pizza master in his family and also in the kibbutz, in addition to being known for his multiple social activities and his particular histrionics. As soon as he saw his son-in-law, he told her: “It’s your birthday today… mazel tov!”

With agency information