The two hostages of Argentine origin released in Gaza by Israeli forces tonight were able to reunite with their families on Monday, “a miracle” for which they are still “in shock” after four months of uncertainty.
Fernando Marman, 60, and Luis Har, 70, had been kidnapped for 128 days when they were freed in Rafah, during a large nighttime operation that 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 freed amidst gunfire by a commando who broke in with explosives in the building where they were held by the Palestinian Islamist movement.
At around 3:15 a.m. they arrived by helicopter at the Sheba hospital in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
Louis Har and Fernando Simon Marman, released. Photo EFE
“Around 3:00 a.m. we received a call from the Israeli authorities, who told us 'we have Fernando and Luis, come see them at the hospital.' We were shocked. We didn't expect it“Idan Bejerano, Luis Har's son-in-law, explained to journalists at the medical center.
“When we saw them, our hearts were beating a million miles an hour, maybe faster.”. There were many tears, hugs and few words,” explained Bejerano.
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 “in shock”, “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 hospital director, Arnon Afek, “the most emotional moment was the silent hugs” during the reunion. “I will remember this moment all my life,” he assured.
At the end of November, the Sheba hospital already hosted around thirty hostages released under a truce agreement.
“What we learned is that in addition to the purely physical aspect there is the psychological one. It takes patience. Finding out how they were treated will take time.”Afek explained.
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,” said Idan Bejerano.
On October 7, Luis, a resident of Kibbutz Urim, was at his partner Clara's house, in Nir Yithzak, with three other members of the extended family: Fernando Marman, Gabriela Leimberg and Mia Leimberg.
When a Hamas commando burst in, they barricaded themselves in the safe room of the house and tried to block the door with a chair, but they were kidnapped.
The women were released at the end of November as part of a truce between Israel and Hamas.
In Kibbutz Urim, about fifteen kilometers from Nir Yitzhak, Shabi waits for his friend Luis. “I have known him for more than thirty years. (…) He is a simple, calm guy, who smiles all the time. And very “A good cook, he prepares a very good barbecue,” added this man, with misty emerald eyes.