Ramat Gan, Israel:
There were hugs and tears at Israel’s largest hospital on Monday as two Gaza hostages were reunited with their families after being rescued in a deadly military attack.
Luis Haar, 70, and Fernando Simon Marmon, 60, embrace their relatives at Sheba hospital after being airlifted from Rafah, Gaza’s southern city.
AFP journalists in Gaza saw the bodies of some of the nearly 100 Palestinians killed in air strikes during a rescue operation, according to health ministry figures in Hamas-run Gaza.
Speaking from Sheba, where the two rescued men were undergoing medical examination, Har’s son-in-law described “a lot of tears, hugs, not a lot of words”.
“Fortunately for us, as a family, he was saved tonight. But I have to say, the job is not done,” Idan Bejerano told reporters at Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv.
He added, “We are happy today, but we did not win. This is another step toward bringing all the other hostages home.”
Bejarano told AFP the family had endured a “hard” and exhausting wait trying to dispel the rumors, while the militants released videos of some of the detainees.
Dozens of press cameras filled the main hall of Sheeba Hospital, where doctors escorted patients.
Marmon’s niece, Geffen Sigal Ilan, said she was still “shaking” at the news of her uncle’s rescue.
“When I saw it I couldn’t believe it was real,” he told AFP.
He said the hostages’ families would continue to fight for the release of other detainees.
“I want to say that we will not stop until all the hostages are free… We will fight for their freedom,” said Ilan, 36.
Both men were taken captive from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in southern Israel, which was so close to Rafah that the sounds of the raid to rescue them could be heard from the rural community.
“From two in the morning, we started hearing loud sounds and noises,” said kibbutz manager Moshe Shori, “we couldn’t sleep.”
“Early in the morning we saw the news that they (Israeli forces) released two people who were in our kibbutz, from where they were snatched on October 7,” he said, standing outside the house.
‘Time is Running Out’
Talks have been underway for weeks to secure a second ceasefire in the four-month war, which would see more hostages released in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue fighting in Rafah, raising international concern for the 1.4 million Palestinians taking refuge there.
A Hamas leader told AFP that such a move by Israeli forces would “torpedo” ceasefire talks.
A week-long ceasefire in November secured the release of more than 100 Gaza hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israel.
According to Hostages and the Missing, those who were released as part of that deal included Clara Marmon, Louis Har’s partner and sister of Fernando Marmon, as well as her sister Gabriela Limburg and her 17-year-old daughter Mia Limburg. Were. Individual Family Forum Campaign Group.
Speaking hours after the release of his Israeli-Argentine relative, Bejarano urged leaders to “get serious and make a compromise.”
He said, “The Israeli people want a settlement. Not tomorrow, not tomorrow, today. We want it to happen as soon as possible.”
The Forum also increased pressure on Israeli authorities to bring home the remaining detainees.
“Time is running out for the remaining hostages held by Hamas,” it said in a statement.
“His life is in danger with each passing moment. The Israeli government must use every option on the table to release him.”
Sheba Hospital director Arnon Afek said both hostages were being medically examined.
“They are not young. We are examining them now. How long they will live depends on their (medical) results,” he told AFP.
“There are not only physical issues but also psychological issues. This is not a simple situation.”
During Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, militants captured about 250 hostages, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. Israel says about 130 people are still in Gaza, although 29 are believed dead.
The attack killed about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Israel has responded to continued attacks on Gaza, which have killed at least 28,340 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest figures from the territory’s health ministry on Monday.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)