Israel-Hamas war live updates: 2 hostages rescued

Hugs and tears as rescued Israeli hostages reunited with loved ones

There were tears and hugs as two freed Israeli hostages were reunited with their families after they were rescued early Monday.

Israeli forces freed them after storming an apartment in the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

Dutch court orders halt to export of F-35 jet parts to Israel

A Dutch appeals court has ordered the Netherlands to stop the export of the F-35 jet parts to Israel after a rights group argued they aided violations of human rights.

Parts of the U.S.-made jet are distributed from the Netherlands, a NATO member, to other countries which include Israel.

The court said there was a risk of humanitarian law violations in Gaza and that Israel was causing disproportionate harm to civilians.

It added that Netherlands must stop export of military goods if there was a clear humanitarian law violations.

Israeli operation in Rafah would be ‘catastrophic’ for population, UNRWA chief tells NBC News

TEL AVIV — An Israeli military operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah would be “catastrophic” for the population of Gaza, more than half of whom have sought shelter in the governorate, the director of the United Nations agency for refugees told NBC News today.

“There is a real sense of fear and apprehension here in Rafah. The population is already traumatized, they’re living in fear and they’re now trying to work out with the recent announcements that there is going to be a military operation in Gaza,” Thomas White said.

Were the Israel Defense Forces to launch a military operation on the city, “it will probably mean that over a million people will be on the move fleeing Rafah for safety,” he said.  

“As we know right now, there are about 1.4 million people living in Rafah, in fact the majority of the population of Gaza are now living in Rafah governorate and if they have to flee the fighting it is going to be catastrophic,” he added.   

An assault would also hamper operations to get aid into the enclave, he said. He added the United Nations Relief and Works Agency brought much of the aid through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.  

“So the obvious concern is, can we maintain our humanitarian operation here if we lose our warehouses, lose our office space, lose communication, lose access to that vital crossing point?” he said.

Houthis say they hit a U.S. ship in the Red Sea

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said in a statement on Telegram today that they had attacked a U.S. merchant ship in the Red Sea.

The Star Iris was struck with “accurate and direct” hits by naval missiles, the statement said.

In a separate incident report, the U.K.’s Maritime Trade Organization said the ship was attacked by two missiles. It added that the crew was reportedly safe.

The Iran-backed Houthis have vowed to continue attacking ships in the region, in strikes they say are in support of Gaza.

Photo: Hostages reunited with loved ones in Israel

Former hostages Fernando Marman, left, and Louis Har are reunited with relatives at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan today after their rescue from captivity in Gaza overnight.

Israel Hostages Freed Gaza
Avichay Adraee via Telegram

Biden disparages Netanyahu in private but hasn’t changed U.S. policy toward Israel

Biden has been venting his frustration in recent private conversations, some of them with campaign donors, over his inability to persuade Israel to change its military tactics in Gaza, and he has named Netanyahu as the primary obstacle, according to five people directly familiar with his comments.

Biden has said he is trying to get Israel to agree to a cease-fire, but that Netanyahu is “giving him hell” and is impossible to deal with, said the people familiar with Biden’s comments, who all asked not to be named.

Biden has in recent weeks spoken privately about Netanyahu, whom he has known for decades, with a candor that has surprised some of those on the receiving end of his comments, people familiar with them said. His descriptions of his dealings with Netanyahu are peppered with contemptuous references to him as “this guy,” these people said. And in at least three recent instances, Biden has called Netanyahu an “asshole,” according to three of the people directly familiar with his comments.

Asked about Biden’s private comments about Netanyahu, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said in a statement that the two leaders have a respectful relationship.

Read the full story here.

Israeli attack on Rafah kills 67 Palestinians, Health Ministry says

Israeli strikes killed at least 67 Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the enclave’s Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said today in a statement on Telegram, adding that authorities were still “retrieving the victims.”

The IDF had earlier said it rescued two hostages from Rafah in an operation overnight.

Large craters left by Israeli bombardment of Rafah

People stand around large craters left in the ground after Israeli bombardments in Rafah, southern Gaza, today.

Israel announced on February 12 the rescue of two hostages in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
Said Khatib / AFP – Getty Images

Death toll in Gaza hits 28,340, officials say

The war in Gaza has killed 28,340 people and injured 67,984, health officials in the enclave said today.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said 164 died and 200 were injured over the past 24 hours.

Fear spreads in Rafah as Israel prepares ground assault

NBC News spoke with displaced Gazans who said they fear time is running out as Israel prepares a ground incursion into areas crowded with civilians.

“We’re so scared, we don’t know where to go. There is a lot of people here,” one young woman said. “Rafah is so small.”

“We are people just like you. I am terrified of what is going to happen to me and my family,” another said. “I have already lost my brother — I don’t want to lose anybody else.”

Israeli forces say they rescued 2 hostages

The Israel Defense Forces today said its troops rescued two hostages abducted during Hamas militants’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

In a statement, the IDF identified the two as Louis Har, 70, and Fernando Simon Marman, 60, from a community called Nir Yitzhak. It said the two were rescued overnight during a mission in Rafah.

Israeli Hostages Rescued Gaza
Louis Har, left, and Fernando Simon Marman.Hostages and Missing Families Forum via AP

“They are both in good medical condition and were transferred for further medical examination in Israel,” the IDF said, adding that the mission was conducted alongside the Israeli Security Agency and Israel Police.

Officials in Israel say roughly 136 hostages from Oct. 7 remain held by militants.

Wounded children in Rafah following strikes

Rafah Airstrike Gaza
Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images

Somay al-Najar comforts her brother Yamen following Israeli airstrikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip today.Smoke billows from buildings in Rafah during the early morning following strikes overnight.

A series of Israeli air strikes on the southern Gaza town of Rafah on February 12, 2024 killed 52 people, according to the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry.
Said Khatib / AFP via Getty Images

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