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2 Israeli hostages rescued in Gaza raid; dozens of Palestinians reportedly killed: The Morning Rundown, Feb. 12, 2024

Feb 12

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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 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

The marathon world record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, died in a crash in Kenya late on Sunday night, Feb. 11. The 24-year-old star distance runner was a favorite in the upcoming summer Olympics in Paris.

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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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 MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS MODNAY, FEBRUARY 12TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

THIS MORNING – THERE ARE STILL MORE THAN 100 HOSTAGES BEING HELD BY HAMAS IN GAZA —

BUT **TWO OF THEM HAVE BEEN RESCUED AFTER A RAID BY ISRAELI FORCES IN THE TOWN OF RAFAH.

ACCORDING TO PALESTINIAN HEALTH OFFICIALS – THE RAID KILLED DOZENS OF PALESTINIANS IN THE PROCESS.

THE ISRAELI ARMY SAYS THE TWO MEN SAVED WERE ABDUCTED FROM A HOME IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL DURING HAMAS’ TERRORIST ATTACK 128 DAYS AGO THAT KILLED 12 HUNDRED PEOPLE.

THE MEN WERE TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL – WHERE THEY ARE SAID TO BE IN GOOD CONDITION.

ISRAEL SAYS 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 BOMBARDED AREAS OF GAZA.

ACCORDING TO THE HAMAS RUN HEALTH MINISTRY —  28-THOUSAND PALESTINIANS HAVE BEEN KILLED SINCE THE START OF THE WAR.

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU TOLD ABC NEWS ON SUNDAY 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 SUNDAY — PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TOLD 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 TOPICS DISCUSSED TODAY WHEN THE PRESIDENT HOSTS KING ABDULLAH OF JORDAN AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN WAS TAKEN TO THE CRITICAL CARE UNIT AT A MILITARY HOSPITAL IN WASHINGTON AFTER BEING HOSPITALIZED FOR SYMPTOMS RELATED TO A BLADDER ISSUE.

THE PENTAGON ISSUING A SERIES OF STATEMENTS DESCRIBING AUSTIN’S CONDITION FOLLOWING WIDESPREAD SCRUTINY OVER THE SECRECY SURROUNDING A HOSPITAL STAY LAST MONTH DUE TO COMPLICATIONS FROM PROSTATE CANCER SURGERY.

AUSTIN HAS TRANSFERRED HIS DUTIES TO DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY KATHLEEN HICKS.

THE WHITE HOUSE SAYING IT IS NOT CLEAR HOW LONG AUSTIN WILL REMAIN HOSPITALIZED THIS TIME – ADDING HIS CANCER PROGNOSIS REMAINS EXCELLENT.

THE SENATE’S STANDALONE 95 POINT 3 BILLION DOLLAR FOREIGN AID BILL THAT WOULD SEND FUNDS TO UKRAINE AND ISRAEL AND OTHER ALLIES HAS PASSED A CRITICAL STEP IN THE CHAMBER.

SENATORS VOTING DURING A RARE SUNDAY SESSION — 67 TO 27 TO ADVANCE THE BILL WITH 18 REPUBLICANS JOINING DEMOCRATS.

THE BILL WOULD SEE 60 BILLION DOLLARS GO TO UKRAINE.

14 BILLION WOULD BE SENT TO ISRAEL.

8 BILLION FOR TAIWAN AND INDO-PACIFIC PARTNERS.

AND NEARLY 10 BILLION DOLLARS IS SET 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.

CELEBRITY PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN (OHL-STEEN) IS REACTING AFTER A SHOOTING AT HIS MEGACHURCH IN HOUSTON TEXAS ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

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.

A MAN WAS ALSO SHOT IN THE LEG DURING THE INCIDENT.

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 SAY THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE SHOOTING IS ONGOING.

THE MARATHON WORLD RECORD HOLDER, KELVIN KIPTUM DIED IN A CRASH IN KENYA LATE SUNDAY NIGHT.

ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS THE 24-YEAR-OLD KENYAN NATIVE WAS DRIVING WHEN HIS VEHICLE VEERED OFF THE ROAD INTO A DITCH AND HIT A TREE.

KIPTUM AND HIS MANAGER WERE PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

A 24-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WHO WAS ALSO IN THE CAR IS SAID TO HAVE SURVIVED.

KIPTUM HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR THE FASTEST MARATHON AFTER HE BREEZED THROUGH THE CHICAGO MARATHON WITH A TIME OF 2-HOURS AND 35 SECONDS.

THAT RECORD WAS RATIFIED JUST LAST WEEK.

FINALLY THIS MORNING –  SUPER BOWL 58 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.

PATRICK MAHOMES, TRAVIS KELCE AND ALL OF CHIEFS KINGDOM ARE CELEBRATING THIS MORNING – AFTER THE TEAM’S 25 TO 22 **OVERTIME VICTORY OVER THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS LAST NIGHT.

IT WAS ONLY THE SECOND TIME IN SUPER BOWL HISTORY THAT THE BIG GAME WENT INTO OVERTIME.

THE GAME ALSO SAW THE LONGEST FIELD GOAL IN SUPER BOWL HISTORY – TWICE — AS THE 49ERS KICKED A 55 “YARD FIELD GOAL” IN THE 2ND QUARTER —

AND THEN THE CHIEFS KICKED A 57-YARDER A QUARTER LATER.

SUPER BOWL MVP WENT TO THE CHIEFS QUARTERBACK PATRICK MAHOMES – HIS THIRD TIME WINNING THE HONOR.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS MONDAY.

AND BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE MORNING RUNDOWN NEWSLETTER  TO GET THE TOP STORIES EACH WEEKDAY MORNING.

JUST GO TO SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN TO SIGN UP.

UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!