JERUSALEM, Feb 12 — The Israeli military announced early today that two hostages taken by Hamas during its October 7 attacks were rescued in an overnight operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The military said in a statement that “during a joint IDF (military), ISA (Shin Bet security agency), and Israel Police operation in Rafah, overnight, two Israeli hostages were rescued, Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Har (70), who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak”.

“They are both in good medical condition and were transferred for medical examination at the Sheba Tel Hashomer hospital,” the statement added.

During the October 7 attacks, Hamas seized about 250 hostages, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. Israel says around 130 are still in Gaza, but 29 are thought to be dead.

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Israel responded to the attacks with a relentless offensive in Gaza, which the territory’s health ministry says has killed at least 28,176 people, mostly women and children.

Dozens of captives taken on October 7 were released during a one-week truce in November that also saw the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Renewed talks for a pause in the fighting have been held in Cairo, with Hamas open to a fresh ceasefire, including more prisoner-hostage exchanges.

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Hamas’s military wing on Sunday said two hostages had been killed and eight others seriously wounded in Israeli bombardment in recent days, a claim AFP was unable to independently verify.

Netanyahu has faced calls for early elections and mounting protests over his administration’s failure to bring home the hostages. — AFP