Israel-Gaza updates: IDF says 2 hostages rescued from Gaza

More than 1 million people displaced by the war have sought refuge in Rafah.

More than four months since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, the Israeli military continues its bombardment of the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The conflict, now the deadliest between the warring sides since Israel's founding in 1948, shows no signs of letting up soon and the brief cease-fire that allowed for over 100 hostages to be freed from Gaza remains a distant memory.

Click here for updates from previous days.


What we know about the conflict

The latest outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, has passed the four-month mark.

In the Gaza Strip, at least 30,228 people have been killed and 71,377 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by Hamas and other Palestinian militants since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 395 people in the territory since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The ongoing war began after Hamas-led militants launched an unprecedented incursion into southern Israel from neighboring Gaza via land, sea and air. Scores of people were killed while more than 200 others were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities. The Israeli military subsequently launched retaliatory airstrikes followed by a ground invasion of Gaza, a 140-square-mile territory where more than 2 million Palestinians have lived under a blockade imposed by Israel and supported by Egypt since Hamas came to power in 2007. Gaza, unlike Israel, has no air raid sirens or bomb shelters.


2 hostages rescued from Gaza: IDF

Two male hostages were rescued from Gaza, the IDF said in a briefing early Monday morning local time. The hostages are both alive and in "good medical condition," the IDF said in a release.

The two hostages -- Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70 -- are back in Israel and were brought to Sheba Tel Hashomer hospital, the IDF said. They were both kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on Oct. 7.

The special operation to rescue the two hostages from Rafah in Gaza started around 1 a.m. local time, IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters during a briefing early Monday morning.

"The two hostages were rescued from the second floor of a residential building in Rafah," Hecht said. The forces breached the building "with a charge," Hecht said.

Hecht added that air cover was provided, and there was also fire to the surrounding buildings.

-ABC News' Dana Savir


IDF conducts more strikes in South Gaza

The IDF said Sunday it had conducted strikes on what it called "terror targets" in the area of Al-Shabura in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to ABC News' reporter in Gaza, the airstrikes by military aircraft and helicopters targeted homes and mosques in several areas of the city of Rafah, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries.

At least 63 people were killed and dozens were injured as a result of the Israeli bombing of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health said.

Also Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a post on X that nine of their staff and some patients were arrested at Al-Amal hospital in Khan Yunis.

"This incident took place as the displaced were evacuated from Al-Amal Hospital, which continues to be besieged for the twenty-first day in a row," PRCS said in the post.

The IDF, however, said in a release Sunday they arrested a group of "terrorists" that were hiding in Al-Amal Hospital.

(Editor's note -- Al-Shabura is Rafah)

-ABC News' Sami Zayara and Victoria Beaule


Biden speaks with Netanyahu about possible Israeli military operation in Rafah

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday in their first call since Biden delivered his strongest rebuke yet of Israel's military operations in Gaza, with Biden calling the Israeli forces' actions "over the top."

In their Sunday call, Biden told Netanyahu a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where many Palestinians have fled to for safety, "should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring" civilian safety, the White House said in a statement.

More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million population has sought refuge in Rafah after being displaced from their homes since Israel's military offensive began, according to the United Nations.

When asked about Biden's remark in a Sunday interview with ABC News' "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl, Netanyahu said, "I don't know exactly what he [Biden] meant by that, but put yourself in Israel's shoes. We were attacked. … I think we've responded in a way that goes after the terrorists and tries to minimize the civilian population."

A senior administration official told reporters that Biden's "over the top" comment was "not specifically addressed" during the two leaders’ call on Sunday. Biden instead reiterated that he wants to see Hamas defeated, though it "must be done while ensuring that operations are … conducted in a way that ensures innocents are protected to the extent possible," the official said.

When pressed on if Israel has indicated whether moving more than 1 million civilians in Rafah out of harm’s way is feasible, the senior official said that Israel has "made clear they would not contemplate an operation without it."

The official added that plans to get enough U.S.-procured flour to feed nearly 1.5 million Gazan residents over six months are "coming along," but that logistical issues need to be worked out.

In Biden’s nearly 45-minute phone call with Netanyahu, the two leaders spent about two-thirds of the conversation discussing the ongoing hostage deal negotiations, the senior official said.

The official said a framework for the hostage deal, which has been "a primary focus" for Biden over the last month, is now in place, though there are gaps that need to be worked through. Later, the official conceded that some of those gaps are "significant," but said progress has been made in the last three weeks.

-ABC News' Fritz Farrow



Biden, Netanyahu to speak Sunday, US official says

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plan to speak Sunday in their first call since Biden delivered his strongest rebuke yet of Israel's military operations in Gaza, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.

Biden called the Israeli forces' actions "over the top." When asked about Biden's remark in a Sunday interview with ABC's "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl, Netanyahu said, "I don't know exactly what he [Biden] meant by that, but put yourself in Israel's shoes. We were attacked. … I think we've responded in a way that goes after the terrorists and tries to minimize the civilian population.”

-ABC News’ Fritz Farrow


Aid groups sound alarm as Israeli troops advance toward Rafah

Aid organizations are sounding the alarm as Israeli troops advance toward Rafah, the southernmost governorate of the war-torn Gaza Strip, where more than a million people are displaced.

The Norwegian Refugee Council warned Thursday that expanded military operations on overcrowded Rafah would "lead to more civilian deaths and risk the aid system in Gaza coming to a halt."

"An expansion of hostilities could turn Rafah into a zone of bloodshed and destruction that people won't be able to escape. There is nowhere left for people to flee to," Angelita Caredda, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement. "Conditions in Rafah are already dire, and a full-scale Israeli military operation will lead to even more loss of civilian life. Aid workers have been grappling with insecurity and insufficient aid for months. Attacks in areas where they provide food, water and shelter means this life-saving support will be impeded, if not entirely stopped."

"Repeated relocation orders issued by Israeli authorities over four months of hostilities have forced tens of thousands of people to flee multiple times to areas that are not safe and where shelter is not available," Caredda added. "Palestinians are being pushed into tiny corners, narrow alleys, and overcrowded shelters while residential areas continue to be pounded."

The Israel Defense Forces originally designated some of the relocation areas in Gaza as "safe zones," but they have been heavily bombarded, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. The United Nations estimates that 67% of the coastal enclave, or 246 square kilometres, has been placed under evacuation orders amid the latest outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza's militant rulers, Hamas.

Meanwhile, the International Rescue Committee warned Wednesday that more military operations in Rafah would "significantly disrupt aid transfers from Egypt and prevent aid agencies from delivering even the most basic services to the Palestinian people who were told by Israel they would be safe there."

"More than half of Gaza's 2.2 million population are seeking refuge in Rafah, with the majority residing in temporary shelters, tents, or exposed to the elements," Bob Kitchen, vice resident of emergencies at the IRC, said in a statement. "Within the last 48 hours, airstrikes on residential zones in Rafah have killed at least 11 Palestinians, two of them children. If Israel expands its operations further south, it would mean the renewed forced displacement of more than a million people who have nowhere left to go; and it would end the humanitarian lifeline from Egypt."

"If they aren't killed in the fighting, Palestinian children, women and men will be at risk of dying by starvation or disease," Kitchen added. "There will no longer be a single 'safe' area for Palestinians to go to as their homes, markets, and health services have been annihilated."

Both the IRC and the Norwegian Refugee Council are calling for the warring sides to agree to an immediate cease-fire.

-ABC News' Zoe Magee and Morgan Winsor