update deskIsrael at War

Freed Israeli hostages record message of gratitude to liberators

"You wrapped us in affection and the feeling that we are at home. There are no words to describe the happiness, that you brought us home to our grandchildren and children."

Family members of freed Israeli hostages Fernando Simon Marman and Norberto Louis Har embrace them for the first time since they were rescued from Hamas in Gaza, Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Feb. 12, 2024. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Family members of freed Israeli hostages Fernando Simon Marman and Norberto Louis Har embrace them for the first time since they were rescued from Hamas in Gaza, Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Feb. 12, 2024. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

The two Israeli hostages freed by special forces in Gaza early Monday recorded a message of gratitude to their liberators from the hospital where they are recovering.

Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70 surprised the security services personnel in a video message from Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan broadcast to the rescuers at a recognition event at the Knesset, Channel 12 reported.

“You wrapped us in affection and the feeling that we are at home. There are no words to describe the happiness, that you brought us home to our grandchildren and children,” Har said.

“We felt the nation in your hands. You said we were diamonds, but here you are the diamonds in the crown. A thousand thanks,” Har continued.

Marman added, “When I saw you, I felt the safest in the world.”

Additionally, Marman’s sister Gabriela Leimberg spoke, thanking the Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Police operators for the daring rescue raid.

“The excitement is very great. We got the best news we could get with their rescue. We are happy,” Leimberg said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday thanked special forces operators who freed the hostages in “one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel.”

Marman and Har, both kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 while visiting Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, were rescued in an overnight operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

The IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police worked together to free the Israeli-Argentine nationals. The Shin Bet’s operational unit managed the operation, which was carried out by it and the Israel Police’s Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit.

“I am proud of you, the ISA and the IDF. You worked like a well-oiled machine. You are simply the best fighters there are. I came here to tell you this and to salute you on behalf of all citizens of Israel. You are the best in the world,” Netanyahu told the fighters during a visit together with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“At 1.40 a.m. this morning, I saw you placing the [explosive] charge, and seconds later, I heard, ‘We have the hostages.’ You eliminated the kidnappers, the terrorists, and made your way back without injury—a successful operation, a perfect operation,” the premier said.

“I would like to tell you that the freeing of Louis and Fernando was one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel,” added Netanyahu.

There are still 134 hostages remaining in Hamas custody, 32 of whom are confirmed dead and 20 of whom are feared dead. Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,200, mostly civilians, and wounded thousands more during the Oct. 7 attack on southwestern Israel.

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