Daring Rescue In Rafah: How Two Freed Hostages Foreshadow What’s Next In The War?

By Sarit Zehavi and Yaakov Lappin.

The IDF-Shin Bet rescue operation to extract two Israeli hostages, Fernando Marman and Louis Har, from Hamas captivity in the heart of Rafah, was a tactical success, containing important signs of what should come next in this war.
The two were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7th.
We now have proof that Israeli hostages were held in Rafah, and we already knew that Hamas’ remaining battalions have been active in the southern Gazan area. These are factors that create the necessity for an IDF maneuver into Rafah. It is part of the need to achieve overall success in the war. More than legitimacy – this is about necessity.
Just as it was a necessity to operate in Rafah for the sake of our hostages and to strike a blow against Hamas, the same necessity exists at a larger level when looking at the need to overcome Hamas’ last stronghold in Gaza.
Monday’s rescue operation is also a reminder of the exploitation of Gazan civilians by Hamas, which uses them as human shields within their neighborhoods. This tactic not only complicates the distinction between combatants and non-combatants but also deliberately puts innocent Palestinian lives at risk. The IDF makes every effort to distinguish between terrorists and noncombatants, going further than any other military in the world to do so.
Yet the aftermath of the operation, with tens of Palestinians reportedly killed, has laid bare the stark realities of Hamas’ human shield tactics. The outcome of which Hamas alone is responsible.
Civilian casualties underscore a simple truth: The only path to alleviating the suffering of Gazans and ensuring the security of Israelis is through the decisive defeat of Hamas. It is safe to assume that the IDF has plans in place to evacuate Palestinian civilians in Rafah when the time comes to expand the Israeli operation there.
At the heart of this operation was precise and meticulously gathered intelligence. This guided Israeli forces as they navigated the complex urban terrain of Rafah. The intelligence gathered prior to the rescue raid not only facilitated the mission but also paved the way for future achievements since the freed hostages and the elite forces who arrived at their location could now deliver more intelligence for future potential use. Intelligence, in this way, leads to more intelligence.
The successful rescue is a badly needed ray of light for the Israeli people, who are hoping for many more successes against Hamas on the way to an overall transformation of the security situation in Gaza. This transformation will also benefit Palestinian Gazans in the future.

*Featured image credit: Sheba Medical Center.

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Alma Research

Alma Research

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