Israel-Hamas war live updates: 2 hostages rescued

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.

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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,” IDF said, adding that the mission was conducted alongside the Israel 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 air strikes 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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