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Two Israeli hostages rescued from captivity in Gaza in 'stable condition'

Two Israeli hostages have been rescued from captivity during a raid by special forces in Rafah in southern Gaza, the Israeli military has said.

The army named them as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, both taken from Kibbutz Nir Yizhak in the 7 October Hamas attacks.

They were rescued from a residential building in a raid that also killed at least seven people, according to Palestinian officials.

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Witnesses reported at least 17 airstrikes, flares and Apache helicopter fire.

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said the operation was based on "precise intelligence", and the site, located on the second floor of a building, had been watched for "some time".

Both the rescued hostages were airlifted to Sheba Hospital in central Israel and are said to be in good medical condition.

Dr Yael Frenkel Nir, deputy director Sheba Medical Centre, told journalists: "I am very excited this morning, we received news three hours ago of the arrival of two returnees by helicopter to us at Sheba.

"Their condition seems good. We are at a preliminary evaluation and testing them regarding their condition, and due to lengthy time in captivity more tests are expected in the coming two days."

Idan Bergerano, Mr Har's son-in-law, told Israel's Channel 13 TV that he and his wife were able to see the two men at the hospital.

He said both were thin and pale, but communicating well and aware of their surroundings.

Mr Marman and Mr Har are the second and third hostages to be rescued safely. A female soldier was rescued in October.

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Israel says about 100 hostages remain in Hamas captivity.

It comes after a series of Israeli strikes hit Rafah this morning, despite warnings from US President Joe Biden not to conduct a military operation in the southern Gaza border town without a "credible" plan to protect civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously told Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate to the south of the territory, to what he referred to as "safe zones".

The Israeli military today said it had struck what it called "terror targets in the area of Shaboura", a district in Rafah.

The military statement said the series of strikes had concluded, without elaborating on the targets or assessing the potential damage or casualties.

Local health officials in Rafah said at least 37 people were killed.

The US president issued his latest warning in a call with Mr Netanyahu on Sunday, but the Israeli prime minister told US network ABC News: "We're going to do it. We're going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah."

In the same interview, Mr Netanyahu claimed the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) believed there were four Hamas cells operating inside Rafah.

He also claimed that the IDF would only carry out the operation "while providing safe passage for the civilian population", without suggesting when it might take place.