Editor’s note: This story has been edited to remove the word “allegedly” in reference to the abduction of Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har by Hamas militants.
Two Israeli men who were taken hostage by Hamas militants during the group’s devastating Oct. 7 attacks were rescued in an overnight mission in Rafah, a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military.
In a statement, the Israeli Defense Forces said they had successfully rescued the men, identifying them as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70. The men were kidnapped during a surprise border attack on Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on Oct. 7.
The men are “in good medical condition and were transferred for further medical examination in Israel,” the statement said.
The rescue came as Israel stepped up its attacks in the Rafah region, which borders Egypt. The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry told the AFP that recent strikes killed 52 people, while 14 houses and three mosques were also hit.
The Israeli military on Sunday wrote on Telegram that it had engaged in a “series of strikes on terror targets” but had now concluded its operation.
The strikes came in direct defiance of an earlier warning by Hamas, which told the AFP that targeting Rafah—an area filled with Gazan civilians escaping the carnage—would “torpedo” hostage negotiations.
Israel also ignored the pleading of President Joe Biden, who in a call with Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday “reaffirmed his view that a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there,” a White House statement said.