Saudi Arabia, Egypt Threaten Israel With Punitive Measures as IDF Clamps Down on Hamas Terrorist Leadership Hiding in Rafah

2024-02-12 06:00:46

As the Israeli armed forces gear up to capture the last major terrorist stronghold of Rafah in southern Gaza with the aim of annihilating Hamas’ Gaza-based leadership and liberating the hostages, the Biden administration, European governments, and Arab regimes are exerting enormous pressure on Israel to halt the military operation.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the two most powerful Arab states, are threatening to unleash punitive measures against Jerusalem as the Israeli military is posed to capture Rafah, the southernmost part of Gaza, along the Egyptian border, thereby cutting off Hamas’ sole escape and weapons supply route.

“Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry warned Saturday of “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip,” CNN reported Sunday.

Cairo is threatening to suspend the Egypt–Israel peace treaty signed in 1979. “Egypt is threatening to suspend its peace treaty with Israel if Israeli troops are sent into the densely populated Gaza border town of Rafah,” CNBC reported Sunday, citing Egyptian and Western officials.

“The threat to suspend the Camp David Accords, a cornerstone of regional stability for nearly a half-century, came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said sending troops into Rafah was necessary to win the four-month war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.” the broadcaster added.

The Biden administration joined the chorus of the United Nations, the European Union, and European nations, telling Israel to halt the military operation as Hamas’ Gaza-based leadership faces total annihilation if it fails to surrender and release the renaming Israeli hostages languishing in captivity for more than five months since the October 7 terror attacks.

“Biden and officials with the United Nations have warned that an Israeli military ground offensive in Rafah,” the Guardian newspaper noted Saturday. “Biden’s national security adviser John Kirby has said the US would not be in favor of any assault on Rafah without due consideration of civilians.”

Germany’s state-run DW TV on Sunday reported the European pressure mounting on Israel:

“The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on X, formerly Twitter, urging a ceasefire and adding that an Israeli offensive on Rafah would be a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making.”

Her British colleague David Cameron also said he was “[d]eeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah — over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area.”

“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out,” he added. (…)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that an Israeli offensive on Rafah “would lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt.”

“Resuming negotiations to free hostages and suspend hostilities is the only way to avert a bloodshed,” Borrell posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Despite mainstream media commentators telling Israel to roll back the Gaza counter-terrorism offensive and negotiate with the butchers of October 7 to seek the release of nearly 130 hostages, the IDF’s strategy of dismantling Hamas is bearing fruit.

The IDF on Saturday rescued two hostages in a daring overnight operation. The military revealed that “during a joint IDF, ISA, and Israel Police operation in Rafah, overnight, two Israeli hostages were rescued, Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Har (70), who were kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.”

The rescued hostages were “in good medical condition, and were transferred for medical examination at the Sheba Tel Hashomer hospital,” the IDF further disclosed.

The Israeli TV channel i24NEWS reported additional details of the rescue operation:

Israeli special forces overnight rescued two hostages, brothers-in-law Fernando Merman (60) and Luis Har (70), during a complex targeted operation in Rafah, southern Gaza.

The men were kidnapped from Nir Itzhak on October 7, a kibbutz on the Gaza border, along with 3 other family members. Both are said to be in a good health condition.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the former hostages were transferred to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv for medical examination and necessary treatment, including psychological support.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari gave a morning press briefing and revealed details of the operation, dubbed “Golden Hand,” saying it had been prepared for a long time.

The freed hostages have been reunited with their families. They appear to be malnourished after 157 days of captivity, the relative of the hostages indicate.

The Times of Israel reported:

A relative of the two hostages freed in an overnight operation in Gaza says that the men have lost a lot of weight during their four months in captivity.

“For days they were hungry,” the unnamed relative tells the Ynet news site, adding that they came back “very weak.”


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Saudi Arabia, Egypt Threaten Israel With Punitive Measures as IDF Clamps Down on Hamas Terrorist Leadership Hiding in Rafah


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