‘Hungry for days’: Hostages arrive home weak after release in gun battle showdown

IDF soldiers from the elite Yamam force shielded Har and Marman with their bodies while a heavy gun battle ensued.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

A family member of the two hostages released from Gaza in a daring rescue operation said the two men experienced prolonged periods of hunger and returned home in a severely weakened state after their four-month ordeal in captivity.

“They were hungry for days,” the unnamed relative told the Ynet news site of Fernando Marman, aged 61, and Louis Har, aged 70, who are dual Argentinian-Israeli citizens.

According to the report, their diet during captivity consisted primarily of pita bread and cheese spread.

More details on Monday emerged of the nighttime rescue operation in Rafah.

Soldiers from the IDF’s elite Yamam force shielded Har and Marman with their bodies from the moment they entered the civilian apartment they were held in in the southern Gazan city of Rafah , IDF Spokesperson Rr.-Adm. Daniel Hagari said. He added that the hostages’ location was determined via intelligence gathered by the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate together with the Shin Bet security Agency.

The apartment building and those adjacent to it were filled with terrorists, Hagari said.

“Yamam forces shielded Louis and Fernando with their bodies, initiating a daring battle and heavy exchanges of fire at several locations simultaneously, with many terrorists,” he said.

The operation was carried out under the cover of dozens of IAF airstrikes against the terror group’s Shabura battalion which served as a decoy for the rescue mission.

In his concluding remarks, Hagari also took a moment to speak to the hostages still under Hamas’ control. “Even amidst our joy following this morning’s successful rescue, we are acutely aware that 134 of our people remain captive in Gaza,” he stated.

Hagari extended a direct message to those still detained: “If you can hear me, know that we are unwavering in our commitment to bring you home. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure your return.”