Air Strike Kills 37, Israel Frees Hostages

( – The Israeli military has freed Israeli-Argentine hostages who had been held by Hamas since the October 7th attacks. The operation killed 74 Palestinians in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, and was led by the military as well as the Shin Bet security service, Israel’s equivalent of the FBI.

The operation successfully and safely freed Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Hare, 70, from Hamas’ custody. Both men had been held for months after their capture on October 7th.

After four months of heavy fighting Gaza has largely been leveled, and all of its cities appear bombed-out post-apocalyptic versions of their former selves. The Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Authority has reported over 28,000 dead with nearly 70,000 wounded in total. They add that many more deaths are likely as bodies are still buried under rubble.

The Israeli military reports that 31 hostages have been killed out of the ~250 people who were initially taken.

President Joe Biden has been urging a ceasefire but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes an end to the conflict. The Senate has just passed a supplementary foreign aid support bill which includes $14.1 billion for Israel, $60 billion for Ukraine, $2.44 billion to support security in the Red Sea, roughly $5 billion to support “Indo-Pacific partners” including South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan, and $9.15 billion in aid to Gaza. It remains to be seen whether the measure can pass the House.

White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby said that while they are negotiating to bring a ceasefire about, there has been no agreement yet between Israel and Hamas.

One woman interviewed by Reuters said that she had been gathering body parts of her relatives that day, finding only fingers and toes left behind after the Israeli operation.

Hamas has reported that three hostages died after succumbing to injuries that occurred during Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military suggested that air strikes were required to extract the other hostages.

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