An Heroic Rescue in the Heart of Enemy Territory

(Israel Hayom) Eyal Levi - Fernando Marman and Louis Har were rescued from Hamas captivity in the heart of Rafah by Israeli forces on February 12, 2024. Superintendent Y, 35, the commander of the primary assault force for the rescue from Yamam, the National Counter-Terrorism Unit, said the operation took place in a Hamas stronghold that the IDF still hadn't targeted, full of terrorists. The unit had been training for the operation for weeks. Commander A, 35, a veteran, experienced reservist, explained that this was "an event that we had been training for since the day we were recruited. There's an instructor who always says, 'If you're privileged to be part of this event, then you're privileged to be the first to enter the room where the hostages are held; say thank you and do your best,' and that was the feeling from the first day of preparations, that we were privileged to be part of something big." The unit's members are young men with families. I asked them if all this risk was worth the rescue of two people. Commander D, 34, answers: "We don't look at it in terms of a person being worth the life of another, and if two soldiers die the operation is a failure. It's not a zero-sum game. There is something here that's far bigger in its substance. I won't say that we in the unit are worth less, but we've taken on ourselves the understanding that we're ready to be harmed for something bigger than a single person, that's who we are." Yamam has lost nine soldiers since Oct. 7. Before departure, the platoon commander, Chief Superintendent A, came to speak with the soldiers. "The commander spoke with us about the importance of the mission, that the hostages are like our parents, and we'd naturally do everything to save our parents," says Superintendent Y. "He spoke with us about the fallen, about how we're doing the operation for them and we are continuing their heritage, and concluded with the same words as before every departure: 'We leave together and we return together,' and this time it happened."

2024-02-19 00:00:00

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