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EDITORIAL: Israel takes hostage issue into its own hands with raid

Negotiations designed to secure the release of hostages taken during the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel “were productive and serious,” CNN reported Tuesday.

But Israel has also taken its own approach to the tragic situation.

Early Monday, Israeli special forces stormed a residential building in Rafa in south Gaza near the Egyptian border. Onlookers described loud explosions that lit up the night sky. The troops made their way to the second floor, where they killed at least three Hamas fighters, according to news reports.

They quickly found their targets: two Israeli hostages, 70-year-old Luis Hur and 61-year-old Fernando Simon Marman. The rescue team evacuated the men from the building and “came under fire as they walked down a narrow road,” The Wall Street Journal reported. They were eventually safely transported to an Israeli hospital.

That Israel would carry out such a daring and risky operation should not be surprising. The nation has a long history of responding aggressively to such terrorism, the most high-profile example likely being the 1976 Entebbe raid, during which Israeli forces successfully freed scores of airline passengers who were taken prisoner by Palestinian and German hijackers and flown to Uganda.

Both Mr. Hur and Mr. Marman were taken during the barbaric massacre of Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists abducted about 250 innocent civilians. Israel secured the release of 100 captives by agreeing in late November to a short cease-fire in its military response. Only Hamas knows how many of the remaining hostages have died in captivity.

It speaks volumes that Hamas — while killing 1,200 people during a bloodthirsty attack on nonmilitary targets — would also seize innocent men, women and children as part of its strategy to provoke a war with the Jewish state. What civilized nations would engage in such indiscriminate atrocities?

Hamas hopes to leverage its human currency to win the release of every Palestinian who was convicted of terror or criminal activity by the Israeli courts and is now serving a prison sentence, CNN reports. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the offer “delusional.”

It also speaks volumes that the two rescued hostages were found in a residential area. Hamas apologists complain that allegations the terror group intentionally uses civilians as human shields are exaggerated or untrue. Yet here they are, using a residential area for military purposes, hoping their fighters and those lording over Israeli hostages can blend in among the population.

If Hamas truly sought peace, it would release the innocent Oct. 7 captives without condition.

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