IDF to launch hostage rescue operations in Rafah – report

In February, the IDF rescued two hostages held in a building in Rafah.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israel told Egyptian officials it plans to launch pinpointed hostage rescue missions in Rafah before a larger military operation in the area, as reported by Lebanese media outlet Al-Akhbar. 

Israel also informed Egypt that there would be a movement of large weapons close to the border to carry out the hostage release operations, but that this activity wouldn’t be in the Philadelphi Corridor.

Egyptian officials said they spoke to their American counterparts who said they approved of the operation in Rafah to free hostages.

According to a report from Politico on Thursday, the US said it would agree with limited and focused operations in Rafah, although it has urged Israel against a full invasion or large operations without concrete measures to protect civilians in the area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received widespread criticism for stating Israel’s intention to operate in Rafah, given that 1.3 million Gazan civilians are located there.

However, the IDF says it has developed plans on how to evacuate the civilians, and Netanyahu stressed that a Rafah operation is essential for winning the war, since there are four Hamas battalions located there.

In addition, it is believed that many of the Israeli hostages are being held in Rafah.

In early February, two hostages kidnapped on October 7th were safely rescued from the Gaza Strip and returned to Israel in a joint operation by the Israeli army, police, and Shin Bet intelligence agency.

The two rescued men were named as Norberto Louis Har, 70, and Fernando Simon Marman, 61. Both of the men are Argentinian-born residents of Kibbutz Nir Itzhak near Gaza.

The pair were being held in an apartment building in the city of Rafah, a Hamas stronghold near the Egyptian border.

According to IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, troops burst into the apartment to rescue Har and Marman, using “intense firepower” against terrorists in and around the building.

The Israeli Air Force was also involved in the rescue, targeting terrorists on the ground and clearing the way for ground forces to operate safely.