RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli forces rescued two hostages early Monday, storming a heavily guarded apartment in the Gaza Strip and extracting the captives under fire in a dramatic raid that was a small but symbolically significant success for Israel. The operation killed at least 67 Palestinians, including women and children, according to Palestinian health officials in the beleaguered territory.
To assist the rescue forces, heavy airstrikes pounded the area near the apartment in Rafah, a city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled to escape fighting elsewhere in the Israel-Hamas war.
The raid was celebrated in Israel as a victory in the sluggish battle to free the hostages, with more than 100 captives still held by Hamas and other Gaza militants, and briefly lifted the spirits of a nation still reeling from Hamas' cross-border raid last year.
But in Gaza, where civilians have borne a staggering toll since the war erupted on Oct. 7, the operation unleashed another wartime tragedy, with many Palestinians killed or wounded.
More than 12,300 Palestinian minors — children and young teens — have been killed in Israel's war against Hamas, the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Monday. That means minors make up about 43% of the total number of 28,176 Palestinians killed so far. About 8,400 women were also among those killed.
The ministry, which does not distinguish between…