Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday thanked special forces operators who freed two hostages from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip in “one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel.”
Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Norberto Louis Har, 70, 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 Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency (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.
Ben-Gvir tweeted a picture of himself alongside the forces, Netanyahu and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai. “With the heroic Yamam fighters who carried out the heroic rescue operation of our hostages last night. You brought a lot of pride to our country,” wrote Ben-Gvir.
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 southern Israel.