Israeli forces rescue two hostages during a raid in a Gaza town where over a million displaced Palestinians have relocated. And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin transfers his duties after being admitted into a military hospital. The stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.
2 hostages rescued in Gaza raid; dozens of Palestinians reportedly killed
Two of the more than 100 hostages still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza have been rescued after a raid by Israeli forces in the town of Rafah early Monday morning, Feb. 12. According to Palestinian health officials, the raid killed dozens of Palestinians, including women and children.
The Israeli army said the two men, identified as Fernando Merman, 60, and Luis Har, 70, were abducted from a home in Southern Israel during Hamas’ terrorist attack 128 days ago that killed 1,200 people. The men were taken to a hospital, where they are said to be in good condition. They are only the second and third hostages to be rescued safely.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) said the “complex rescue operation” at an apartment building was based on “very sensitive and high-quality intelligence.” As part of the operation, the Israeli army launched airstrikes on the area near the apartment in the city of Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled to escape Israel’s operation against Hamas.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, 28,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News on Sunday, Feb. 11, that Israel is working out a “detailed plan” to evacuate those living in Rafah and move them to areas north of the city as Israel looks at sending more troops into the town.
In a phone call on Sunday, Feb. 11, President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu that Israel should only target Hamas terrorists in Rafah if it has a “credible and executable” plan to protect civilians. The war is expected to be among the topics discussed on Monday, Feb. 12, when the president hosts King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized, transfers power to deputy
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to the critical care unit at a military hospital in Washington on Sunday night, Feb. 11, after being hospitalized for symptoms related to a bladder issue. The Pentagon issued a series of statements describing Austin’s condition following widespread scrutiny over the secrecy surrounding a hospital stay in January due to complications from prostate cancer surgery.
Austin has transferred his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon said it is not clear how long Austin will remain hospitalized this time, adding his cancer prognosis remains excellent.
Senate advances $95.3 billion Ukraine-Israel aid bill
The Senate’s standalone $95.3 billion foreign aid bill that would send funds to Israel, Ukraine, and other allies has passed a critical step. Senators voted during a rare Sunday, Feb. 12, session 67-27 to advance the bill, with 18 Republicans joining Democrats.
The bill would see $60 billion go to Ukraine, $14 billion to Israel, $8 billion to Taiwan and Indo-Pacific partners, and nearly $10 billion for humanitarian aid for Gaza. A final vote in the Senate could come by midweek.
The bill would then go to the Republican-led House, where the GOP has said any legislation would also need to address the migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border.
Woman killed after opening fire inside Joel Osteen’s megachurch
Celebrity Pastor Joel Osteen is reacting after a shooting at his megachurch in Houston, Texas, on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 11. According to police, a woman wearing a trench coat and armed with a long rifle opened fire inside Lakewood Church in between services.
Two off-duty officers working security shot back, killing the suspect. A 5-year-old boy who was with the woman was critically injured in the incident. A man was also shot in the leg.
In a statement posted to X, Osteen wrote in part, “Our community is devastated by today’s events and grateful for the swift actions of law enforcement.” Police said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Marathon world record holder dies in crash in Kenya
According to officials, Kiptum, a Kenyan native, was driving when his vehicle veered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree. Kiptum and his coach were pronounced dead at the scene; another passenger, a 24-year-old woman, is said to have survived with serious injuries.
Kiptum currently holds the world record for the fastest marathon after he breezed through the Chicago race with a time of 2:00.35. That record was ratified last week by the International Track Federation World Athletics.
Kansas City Chiefs are back-to-back Super Bowl champions
Super Bowl LVIII is in the books, and for the first time in nearly two decades, a team went back-to-back. Yes, for the second year in a row, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, and all of the Chiefs Kingdom are celebrating after the team’s 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
It was only the second time in history the Super Bowl went into overtime. The Big Game also saw the longest field goal in Super Bowl history, twice, as the 49ers’ Jake Moody’s 55-yard field goal in the second quarter was topped by the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker’s 57-yarder a quarter later. The Super Bowl MVP went to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, his third time winning the honor.
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Author: Karah Rucker
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