TEL AVIV, February 12. /TASS/. Only continued military pressure on the radical Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip will lead to the release of all hostages held in the Palestinian enclave, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Commenting on the release by the army during the operation in Rafah in the southern part of the Strip of two hostages kidnapped on October 7, 2023, he said: "I salute our brave soldiers for their courageous actions that led to their (the two hostages - TASS) release. Only continued military pressure until complete victory will lead to the release of all kidnapped."
"We will not miss any opportunity to bring them (hostages held in Gaza - TASS) home," the Israeli prime minister said on his X (formerly Twitter) page.
According to Israel's Channel 12, the country informed the US before the operation to free the hostages in Rafah.
Earlier on Monday, the Israel Defense Forces press service said two Israeli hostages, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were freed in a special operation in Rafah. They had been kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7.
Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7, 2023, when militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian movement Hamas staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from Gaza, killing residents of Israeli border settlements and taking over 240 hostages, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In response, Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians before the crisis, and has been delivering air strikes on Gaza as well as some parts of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes have also been reported on the West Bank.