The two hostages of Argentine origin released in Gaza by Israeli forces were able to reunite with their families on Monday, “a miracle“for which they are still”shocked” after four months of uncertainty.
Fernando Marman60 years old, and Louis Har70, had been kidnapped for 128 days when they were freed during a large night operation in Rafah, which included bombings that, according to Hamas, left a hundred Palestinians dead.
The two Israeli-Argentines, kidnapped by Hamas during its October 7 attack on the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz, in southern Israel, were exfiltrated amidst gunfire by a commando who broke into the building where they were held by the Palestinian Islamist movement with explosives. .
At around 3:15 a.m. they arrived by helicopter at the Sheba hospital in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
“Around 3:00 a.m. we received a call from the Israeli authorities, who told us ‘We have Fernando and Louis, come see them at the hospital.’ We were shocked. We didn’t expect it“Idan Bejerano, son-in-law of Luis Har, explained to journalists at the medical center.
“When we saw them, our hearts were beating a million miles per hour, maybe more. There were many tears, hugs and few words“Bejerano explained.
Also at the medical center, Marman’s niece, Gefen Sigal Ilan, could not stop shaking after the announcement of her uncle’s release.
I’m “shocked“, “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it was true.“, the 36-year-old woman told AFP, visibly emotional, adding that the two men are “very thin, very pale.”
For the director of the hospital, Arnon Afek, “The most emotional moment was the silent hugs” during the reunion. “I will remember this moment all my life”, he assured.
“It is a miracle”
At the end of November, the Sheba hospital had already taken in about thirty hostages released under a truce agreement.
“What we learned is that in addition to the purely physical aspect there is the psychological one. Patience is needed. Finding out how they were treated will take time”Affek explained.
“The length of time they will remain will depend on their results. [médicos]”he added.
A hospital spokeswoman later detailed that although both were “stable“, were “evident” the “signs of prolonged captivity and lack of medical care” during his detention in Gaza.
The wait was not easy for the family members either. These last four months, “We went to bed exhausted, we woke up tired. There were rumors, videos (about hostages), it was very difficult“, stated Idan Bejerano.
On October 7, Louis, a resident of Kibbutz Urim, was at his partner Clara’s home in Nir Yithzak, with three other members of the extended family: Fernando Marman, Gabriela Leimberg and Mia Leimberg.
When a Hamas commando broke in, they barricaded themselves in the safe room of the house and tried to block the door with a chair, but were kidnapped.
The women were released at the end of November as part of a truce between Israel and Hamas.
At Kibbutz Urim, about fifteen kilometers from Nir Yitzhak, Shabi was waiting for his friend Louis. “I have known him for more than thirty years. (…) He is a simple, calm guy, who smiles all the time. And a very good cook, he prepares a very good roast”This man added, his emerald eyes misting.
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