After rescue operation, Gazan families holding hostages have cause for concern

Analysis: Operation weakens Hamas' perceived ability to safeguard its prime asset and erodes trust of local families entrusted with Israeli captives; concerns may lead some to consider transferring them to prevent harm

Many details were not allowed to be published regarding the heroic operation to rescue the two hostages from the Shabura refugee camp in Rafah. But now you can let your imagination run wild for a moment trying to understand what happened there.
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First, it starts with accurate intelligence provided by the Shin Bet. Intelligence so accurate that it allows you to know which door you need to break into, which floor to climb to, and how many guards are in charge of the hostages and where they are located.
IDF soldiers rescue Fernando Marman and Louis Har
(Photo: Police spokesperson)

Intelligence that allows you to send a force of dozens of soldiers into the heart of Rafah in one of the most hostile environments there is, knowing that it is not an ambush for the force, and intelligence that allows the operative force to train properly for arriving and breaking into the target with a certain understanding of the situation of those hostages and what is the best time to carry it out.
Second, the execution. A force of the Yamam, or National Counter-Terrorism Unit, and the Shin Bet's operational unit arrived in secret at Shabura. Anyone who has ever been to this place can tell you how absurd and imaginary this sentence is. Even a successful script of an action series would have difficulty taking us to the realm of this action and how it was carried out. And perhaps for censorship reasons, it is better to leave it to the imagination.
But now you can imagine what happened to the Yamam and the Shin Bet forces on the way to the target, what happened to the commanders of the IDF a second after they gave the green light to the fighting force.
And now, how the hell did they manage to bring a force of dozens of soldiers quietly, secretly, into the heart of a refugee camp? One can imagine the approach to the target a little after 1 a.m. and the reports back to the command post. The commanders of the raiding force who unload from the vehicles near the house in question and advance toward it hoping not to be exposed, and start the countdown. And then reach the second floor and that moment when they go into loud action and break down the front door with explosives.
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תיעוד לוחמי ימ"מ מחלצים חטופים
תיעוד לוחמי ימ"מ מחלצים חטופים
Security forces rescue two hostages from Rafah
(Photo: Israel Police)
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תיעוד לוחמי ימ"מ מחלצים חטופים
תיעוד לוחמי ימ"מ מחלצים חטופים
Security forces break down the door where the hostages are being held
(Photo: Israel Police)
Then the penetration phase. Those soldiers who are at the front of the force need to reach the hostages within a second or two, before the guards kill them. Almost 30 years ago, in an incident in which IDF soldiers broke into the house where Nachshon Wachsman was being held in Bir Nabalah near Jerusalem, the entire break-in operation was delayed due to a particularly problematic door and locks, destroying the element of surprise. Wachsman was murdered by his captors. In this case, the Yamam and Shin Bet operatives managed to surprise the guards and neutralize them.
And at the same moment that the rescue force reports that the hostages are in their hands, the gates of hell opened on Rafah. Here we can already rely on the reports that came out in the Palestinian networks. A heavy air attack on a number of Hamas targets in the Shabura and Rafah sector, was designed to neutralize any thought of an attack on the rescue force. This air strike led to a great many casualties on the Palestinian side, at least 50 dead, but allowed the safe return of the entire invading force and the hostages home.
This success is only a drop in the ocean considering the fact that 134 hostages are still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Some are no longer alive. Some of them are kept in places where it will be very difficult to rescue them without casualties to our forces or to the hostages themselves. And yet, the night rescue operation undermines Hamas' confidence in its ability to protect its number one asset, and perhaps more importantly it will create fear among Palestinian families to whom Hamas has entrusted hostages, since it is having trouble keeping all the hostages. Some of these families may even want to transfer them to other or even Israeli hands to avoid harm.
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משפחתם של פרננדו מרמן ולואיס הר מתאחדים איתם לאחר שחולצו מעזה בבית החולים שיבא
משפחתם של פרננדו מרמן ולואיס הר מתאחדים איתם לאחר שחולצו מעזה בבית החולים שיבא
Hostages are reunited with their family members
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
This action also reveals the fact that the IDF and the Shin Bet recently received good-quality intelligence regarding Hamas and the hostages and emphasizes that Hamas is no longer the same organization we saw on October 7. This is a battered and weaker organization.
But it should still be emphasized that the road ahead is long. "Total victory" is not visible here, despite the illusion that the prime minister's people are trying to create, for the simple reason that, after October 7, there will be no such thing. Hamas still has capabilities and its leaders are still alive. And even on a day of celebration and a significant military achievement, one must remember that the celebration cannot be real and complete until we see Hamas beaten and the hostages all at home.
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