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Tears, Hugs At Israel Hospital As 2 Gaza Hostages Reunited With Families

Louis Ha, 70, and Fernando Simon Merman, 60, hugged relatives at Sheba Hospital.

Ramat Gan, Israel:

There were hugs and tears at Israel’s largest hospital on Monday as two Gaza hostages rescued from a deadly military raid were reunited with their families.

Louis Herr, 70, and Fernando Simon Marman, 60, hugged relatives at Sheba Hospital after being airlifted from the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

AFP reporters in Gaza saw the bodies of some of the approximately 100 Palestinians killed in airstrikes during rescue operations, the Hamas-run Gaza Strip’s Health Ministry said.

“There were a lot of tears and hugs and not a lot of words,” Herr’s son-in-law said from Sheba, where the two rescued men were undergoing medical examinations.

“Fortunately for our family, they were saved tonight. But I have to say that the work is not done,” Idan Beherano told reporters at Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv. .

“We are happy today, but we did not win. This is just another step towards bringing all the other hostages home,” he continued.

Beherano told AFP that his family endured a “grim” and exhausting wait to try to dispel rumors as the militants released videos of some of the prisoners.

Dozens of news cameras filled the main hall of Sheba Hospital, and patients were being transported by cars to doctors.

Marman’s niece, Gefen Sigal Ilan, said she was still “shaking” at the news of her uncle’s rescue.

“When I saw him, I couldn’t believe he was real,” she told AFP.

She said the families of the hostages would continue to fight for the release of other prisoners.

“I want to say that we will not stop until all the hostages are freed…We will fight for their freedom,” said Ilan, 36.

The two were captured from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in southern Israel, so close to Rafah that the sounds of the raid to rescue them could be heard far into the countryside.

“I started hearing the thumping noise at 2 a.m.,” kibbutz administrator Moshe Shori said, adding, “I couldn’t sleep.”

“It was only in the morning that I saw on the news that they (Israeli forces) had released the two people who were in our kibbutz,” he added, standing outside the house where they were abducted on October 7. Ta.

“Time is running out.”

Negotiations have been underway for weeks to secure a second truce in the four-month war, which would see the release of more hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinians held by Israel. That will happen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the fight against Rafah, sparking international alarm over the 1.4 million Palestinians sheltered there.

One Hamas leader told AFP that such action by Israeli forces would “disrupt” ceasefire negotiations.

A week-long ceasefire in November secured the release of more than 100 Gaza hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians held by Israel.

According to Hostages and Missing Persons, among those released as part of the deal were Clara Marman, Louis Herr’s partner and Fernando Marman’s sister, her sister Gabriella Reimberg and 17-year-old His daughter Mia Leimberg was also included. Campaign group for individual family forums.

Beherano spoke hours after the Israeli and Argentine relatives were freed, urging leaders to “get serious and make a deal.”

“The Israeli people need a deal. Not yesterday or tomorrow, but today. We want a deal as soon as possible.”

The forum also increased pressure on Israeli authorities to return the remaining prisoners.

“Time is running out for the remaining hostages held by Hamas,” the agency said in a statement.

“Their lives are in danger every moment. The Israeli government must exhaust all options to free them.”

Sheba Hospital Director Arnon Afek said the two hostages were undergoing medical examinations.

“They are not young. We are currently testing them. How long they will stay depends on the (medical) results,” he told AFP.

“There are not only physical problems, but also mental problems. It’s not a simple situation.”

The militants took about 250 hostages in Hamas’ October 7 attack on southern Israel, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli statistics. Israel says there are still about 130 people in the Gaza Strip, but 29 people are believed to have died.

The attack killed about 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Israel has responded with relentless attacks in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 28,340 people, most of them women and children, according to the latest death toll released Monday by the Gaza Strip Health Ministry.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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