'There's a considerable chance you'll come back injured, if not worse'

Highly trained 4-person rescue team recounts fateful mission to free Israeli hostages Fernando Marman and Luis Har from terrorists in Gaza, sharing intriguing details about weeks of extensive preparations and anxious wait

Meir Turgeman, Oded Shalom|
The National Counter Terrorism Unit's 4-person strike team executed a mission of utmost secrecy, evading detection as they advanced toward their target. Under the cover of darkness on a fateful Sunday night in Rafah, a city ram-packed with over a million displaced Gazans seeking refuge from fighting, they navigated through narrow alleys and secluded yards, their movements shrouded in silence and aided by the piercing gaze of night vision binoculars.
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Their destination: The house where 61-year-old Fernando Marman and 70-year-old Louis Har were being held captive. This operation unfolded like a scene taken straight out of an action-packed thriller, highly reminiscent of the kind of operation one would expect from U.S. Navy Seals or British SAS.
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The strike team that raided the house
During a conversation with four fighters involved in the rescue operation, intriguing details surfaced regarding the extensive preparations that spanned several weeks. They discussed the initial orders, the subsequent last-minute changes and the critical moment they got the final greenlight on that Sunday night.
Y., a deputy platoon commander in the unit and a member of the strike team involved in the hostage situation, expressed his uncertainty about returning safely from the operation. He shared, "The level of risk was incredibly high, to the point where I told myself, 'There's a considerable chance you'll come back injured, if not worse.'"
A., who was the first to enter the house by blowing the door open with a bomb, vividly recounted the intense moment when he confronted two terrorists who were guarding the hostages. With remarkable precision, he swiftly neutralized the threat by firing two precise shots.
The operation in Rafah
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Y. and A. were first to reach Marman and Har, swiftly guiding them to the balcony where they shielded them with their own bodies, providing crucial protection against the barrage of heavy gunfire directed at the house.
Several hours after their return to Israel and the IDF's announcement of the successful rescue operation, Y. sent a message to his wife celebrating their accomplishment, saying, "We just finished not long ago, we brought them!", she replied, "You're champions! How are you?" and in response, he simply said, "Tired," accompanied with a heart emoji.
When asked if he had shared the details of the preparations for the operation with his wife, considering the secretive nature of the mission, he smiled and said, "She didn't know, but she wasn't born yesterday. The night before, she caught me in bed checking the weather forecast for Rafah."
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