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Israel says two hostages have been rescued from Gaza Strip

The Israeli military says it has rescued two hostages from captivity in the Gaza Strip after a night of air strikes which killed at least 67 people.

Israeli forces stormed a heavily guarded apartment in the southern Gaza Strip to extract the captives.

It identified the freed hostages as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70.

It said both men were kidnapped by Hamas militants from Kibbutz Nir Yizhak in the October 7 cross-border attack that started the four-month Israel-Hamas war.

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
Hostage Fernando Simon Marman hugs a relative after being rescued from captivity in the Gaza Strip (Israeli Army via AP)

Officials in Rafah say at least 67 people were killed in airstrikes that accompanied the Israeli hostage rescue operation.

An Associated Press journalist in Rafah said strikes hit around Kuwait Hospital, where some of those wounded in the strikes had been brought.

Israel says around 100 hostages remain in Hamas captivity after dozens were freed during a ceasefire in November.

ISRAEL Gaza
(PA Graphics)

The Israeli government has made freeing the hostages a top aim of its war, along with destroying Hamas金光佛论坛 military and governing capabilities.

However, as the fighting drags on, rifts have emerged over how to retrieve them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that persistent military pressure will bring about the captives金光佛论坛 freedom even as families of the hostages and many of their supporters have called on the government to make another deal with Hamas.

Israel Palestinians
Palestinians walk by a residential building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah (Hatem Ali/AP)

Mr Netanyahu has said that sending ground troops into Rafah is essential to meeting Israel金光佛论坛檚 war goals.

This comes despite warnings from US President Joe Biden not to conduct a military operation in the Gaza border town without a 金光佛论坛渃redible and executable plan to protect civilians.

More than half of Gaza金光佛论坛檚 2.3 million population is now crammed into Rafah, where hundreds of thousands live in sprawling tent camps and overcrowded UN shelters.

Israel Palestinians
The operation, which was accompanied by airstrikes, killed dozens of Palestinians, according to local health officials (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

About 8,400 women were also among those killed.

The ministry does not distinguish between combatants and civilians and provided the breakdown of minors and women at the request of The Associated Press.

Israel claims to have killed 10,000 Hamas fighters.

The European Union金光佛论坛檚 foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called on the US among other countries to stop providing weapons instead of simply demanding that the two sides in the war in Gaza stop killing civilians.

金光佛论坛淚f you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed,金光佛论坛 Mr Borrell told reporters in Brussels after talks with the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The EU金光佛论坛檚 top diplomat also expressed concern about the likelihood of an imminent Israeli ground assault on Rafah.

He said: 金光佛论坛淭hey are going to evacuate. Where, to the moon? Where are they going to evacuate these people?金光佛论坛

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