The joint operation by the police’s elite Yamam counterterrorism unit, the Shin Bet security agency, and IDF began at around 1 a.m. in Rafah, an area that Israeli forces had not yet maneuvered into during their ground offensive against the Hamas terror group.
In a morning press conference and an earlier update to military reporters on the operation, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Yamam officers arrived in Rafah at around 1 a.m. and “carried out a very complex action on the premises and the second floor where the hostages were held.”
“Reaching the target in the heart of Rafah was very complex,” Hagari said.
He said the forces breached the apartment at 1:49 a.m., killing the three terrorists guarding the hostages and “hugged and protected Louis and Fernando with their bodies.”
Fighting also broke out in several adjacent buildings, with massive airstrikes carried out against Hamas terrorists in the area of the rescue operation at 1:50 a.m., Hagari said.