Israel-Hamas truce updates | Mediators Qatar, Egypt help resolve delay in hostages-prisoners swap

Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners, during the four-day truce — all woman and minors.

November 25, 2023 06:55 am | Updated November 26, 2023 02:59 pm IST

View of what the Israeli military says are trucks carrying humanitarian aid at a location given as Rafah, entering Gaza, during a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released November 24, 2023.

View of what the Israeli military says are trucks carrying humanitarian aid at a location given as Rafah, entering Gaza, during a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released November 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

This live has been closed, Please follow here for fresh updates

Hamas agreed to release 13 Israelis and seven foreigners late Saturday in exchange for 39 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, Qatari and Egyptian mediators said, after the militant group delayed the second round of swaps for several hours and claimed that Israel had violated the terms of a truce deal.

The last-minute snag had created a tense standoff on the second day of what was meant to be a four-day cease-fire. By nightfall, as the hostages should have emerged from Gaza, Hamas alleged that the aid deliveries permitted by Israel fell short of what was promised and that not enough of the aid was reaching northern Gaza — the focus of Israel’s ground offensive and main combat zone. Hamas also said not enough veteran prisoners were freed in the first swap on Friday.

“This is putting the deal in danger and we have spoken to mediators about that,” Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said in Beirut. But Egypt, Qatar and Hamas itself later said obstacles had been overcome, and Hamas issued a statement listing six women and 33 boys and teenagers it said were expected to be released by the Israelis.

While uncertainty around the details of the exchange remained, there was some optimism, too, amid earlier scenes of joyous families reuniting on both sides.

On the first day of the four-day ceasefire, Hamas released 24 of the roughly 240 hostages taken during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison. Those freed in Gaza were 13 Israelis, 10 Thais and a Filipino.

Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners, during the four-day truce — all woman and minors.

Israel has said the truce can be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed — something U.S. President Joe Biden said he hoped would occur.

Also read | Israel-Hamas war, day 49 updates

Separately, a Qatari delegation arrived in Israel on Saturday to coordinate with parties on the ground and “ensure the deal continues to move smoothly,” according to a diplomat briefed on the visit. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details with the media.

The start of the pause brought quiet for 2.3 million Palestinians reeling from relentless Israeli bombardment that has killed thousands, driven three-quarters of the population from their homes and leveled residential areas. Rocket fire from Gaza militants into Israel went silent.

(With inputs from Agencies)

  • November 26, 2023 01:19
    Hamas thanks Egypt, Qatar for helping maintain temporary truce with Israel

    Hamas announced on Saturday its appreciation for Qatari- and Egyptian-led efforts at ensuring the continuation of a temporary truce agreement between the group and Israel that began on Friday.

    Hamas said in a statement that the Egyptian and Qatari parties had confirmed Israel’s commitment to all the terms and conditions of the agreement.

    Earlier on Saturday, Hamas had decided to delay a second round of hostage releases as part of the truce deal until Israel committed to letting aid trucks enter northern Gaza.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 00:59
    Hamas to release 13 Israelis, 7 foreigners for 39 Palestinians after hours-long snag, mediators say

    Hamas agreed to release 13 Israelis and seven foreigners late Saturday in exchange for 39 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, Qatari and Egyptian mediators said, after the militant group delayed the second round of swaps for several hours and claimed that Israel had violated the terms of a truce deal.

    The last-minute snag had created a tense standoff on the second day of what was meant to be a four-day cease-fire. By nightfall, as the hostages should have emerged from Gaza, Hamas alleged that the aid deliveries permitted by Israel fell short of what was promised and that not enough of the aid was reaching northern Gaza — the focus of Israel’s ground offensive and main combat zone. Hamas also said not enough veteran prisoners were freed in the first swap on Friday.

    “This is putting the deal in danger and we have spoken to mediators about that,” Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said in Beirut. But Egypt, Qatar and Hamas itself later said obstacles had been overcome, and Hamas issued a statement listing six women and 33 boys and teenagers it said were expected to be released by the Israelis.

    - AP

  • November 25, 2023 21:44
    Hamas delays second release of hostages until Israel lets aid into northern Gaza

    The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas said that it had decided to delay the second round of hostage releases until Israel is committed to letting aid trucks enter northern Gaza.

    Hamas said it is delaying hostage handover until Israel “adheres to agreement”.

    Earlier, a Hamas source told AFP that the handover of the second group of hostages has begun. “The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades have begun handing the second group of Israeli prisoners over to the Red Cross in (the southern city of) Khan Yunis. There are 14 of them,” the source said, referring to the armed wing of Hamas.

    Meanwhile, Israel officials said second group of hostages not yet handed over to Red Cross.

    - Agencies

  • November 25, 2023 21:32
    Qatari delegation discusses possible truce extension with Israel, says official

    A Qatari delegation visited Israel to discuss a possible extension of the four-day truce between Hamas and Israel that started on November 24, an official briefed on the visit said.

    The Qatari operations team also coordinated with Israeli officials to ensure the truce and hostage releases continue smoothly, the official said.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 21:02
    Palestinian militants kill 2 alleged informers for Israel and mob drags bodies through camp alleys

    Palestinian militants in a West Bank refugee camp shot and killed two alleged collaborators with Israel early on November 25, Palestinian officials said. Mobs then kicked the bloodied corpses and dragged them through alleys before trying to tie them to an electrical tower.

    A Palestinian security officer said a local militant group in the camp, in the northern town of Tulkarem, accused two Palestinians of helping Israeli security forces target the group in a major army raid that killed three key militants on November 6.

    The two alleged informers were in their late 20s and early 30s, respectively, and one was from the camp, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    A second Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Palestinian security forces were aware of the incident. The public prosecutor’s office said it would have details in the coming days about a police investigation into the killings.

    The local militant group — affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of the secular nationalist Fatah party — posted a cryptic statement just after the two men were reported killed. “We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves,” it said.

    The family of one of the accused informers sought to distance itself in a statement Saturday, calling its disgraced relative a “malicious finger that we have cut off without regret.”

    “We affirm our complete innocence,” the family added, “and we won’t allow anyone to blame us for his guilt.”

    A Palestinian journalist in the camp, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said residents of the camp beat and stomped on the corpses after the two were shot and killed by militants in the streets.

    - AP

  • November 25, 2023 20:43
    UNIFIL says Israeli gunfire hit one of its patrols in southern Lebanon

    The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that one of its patrols was hit by Israeli gunfire in the vicinity of Aytaroun of southern Lebanon, although there were no casualties.

    UNIFIL condemned the attack on its peacekeepers, calling it “deeply troubling”.

    “We strongly remind the parties of their obligations to protect peacekeepers and avoid putting the men and women who are working to restore stability at risk,” it said in a statement.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 20:07
    Hamas due to release 13 Israeli hostages, says Israeli military

    Palestinian militant group Hamas is due to release 13 Israeli hostages on November 25 in exchange for 39 Palestinians, Israeli military spokesman Olivier Rafowicz told France’s BFMTV.

    Egyptian security sources said earlier they had received a list from Hamas of 14 hostages to be released on November 25.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 19:47
    Egypt says it received ‘positive signals’ over possible extension of Gaza truce

    Egypt said it had received positive signals from all parties over a possible extension of the Gaza truce for one or two days.

    Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), said in a statement that the country was holding extensive talks with all parties to reach an agreement over extending the four-day truce, which “means the release of more detainees in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 19:12
    Polish citizen was among hostages released from Gaza, says Foreign Ministry

    A Polish citizen was among hostages released from Gaza, Poland’s Foreign Ministry said on November 25, as it welcomed news of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hama conflict.

    “We welcome the information about the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which allowed the release of the first group of hostages, including a Polish citizen, and increased supplies of humanitarian aid to the enclave,” the Ministry said.

    “At the same time, Poland continues to firmly demand that Israel consent to the safe departure from the Gaza Strip by other Polish citizens.”

    Some of the hostages released on November 24 held dual-citizenship.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 18:12
    Israeli-managed vessel hit by suspected Iranian drone, U.S. official says

    A container ship managed by an Israeli-controlled company was hit by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean, causing minor damage to the vessel but no injuries, a U.S. defence official said.

    The Malta-flagged CMA CGM SYMI, recently renamed Mayet, was struck on November 24 by an unmanned aerial vehicle, which appeared to be an Iranian Shahed-136 drone, in the northeast portion of the Indian Ocean, the official said.

    Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), which had rented Mayet, said it was aware a container ship was targeted in a possible security incident on November 24. “The vessel in question is currently sailing as planned. All crew are safe and well,” EPS said. EPS is controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and its ships have previously come under similar attacks.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 17:05
    Thousands expected to take part in pro-Palestinian rally in London

    Thousands of protesters were expected to join a pro-Palestinian march in London on Saturday, with city police warning demonstrators that anyone deemed to be racist would be arrested at the rally.

    A four-day truce agreed between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas saw the release of 24 Israeli hostages on November 24, but the U.K.-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which is organising the march on November 25, said it was “only a brief and partial respite for the people of Gaza”.

    The PSC called for a permanent halt to the conflict in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the police said more than 1,500 officers would be on duty to handle the protest.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 16:21
    Iran says it facilitated Friday’s release of 10 Thai hostages

    Iran facilitated Friday’s release of 10 Thai hostages from Gaza, providing a list of names to Palestinian group Hamas after a request to do so by Thailand’s Foreign Ministry and parliamentary speaker, Iran’s embassy in Thailand said on social media on Saturday.

    “This request was accepted by Hamas and 10 Thai hostages were released after the ceasefire,” it said.

    - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 15:55
    “I had no intention to hurt Israel”: Sanjay Raut responds to embassy letter over ‘anti-semitic’ post

    Responding to a letter by the Israel Embassy over his ‘anti-semitic’ post, amid the ongoing ground operations against terror Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said he shared the post long back and did not intend to hurt Israel.

    The letter from the Israeli embassy came close on the heels of an uproar over Raut’s post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), which allegedly justified the Holocaust.

    Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Raut said, “It’s been a long time since I shared that post on X. I have since deleted that post. I did make a reference to Hitler in my post but had no intention to hurt Israel.”

    The Rajya Sabha MP claimed that he had condemned the October 7 attacks by Hamas in southern Israel while also being critical of the Israeli reprisal.

    “I did criticise and condemn the way Hamas attacked southern Israel and took innocent lives. At the same breath, however, I also condemned the way Gaza hospitals were attacked, killing newborns and children, and their essential supplies blocked. I believe children shouldn’t be targeted during a war,” Raut said.

    “I said what was happening was inhumane. I did say as well that it is because of the lack of humanity that they are demonstrating now that a leader back in the day [Hitler] opposed you,” the Sena (UBT) MLA said.

    He claimed that the Israeli Embassy must have been prompted by “someone” to “oppose” his post.

    “It was only after a month that Israel’s High Commission in India wrote to me over the post. I feel someone may have prompted them to write to me,” he claimed.

    - ANI

  • November 25, 2023 15:32
    Egypt gets list from Hamas of 14 hostages to be released on Saturday

    Egypt has received a list from Palestinian militant group Hamas of 14 hostages to be released on Saturday, security sources said.

    Earlier on Saturday, Israel also said it has received a list of hostages to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Hamas.

    -Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 15:19
    Over three dozen Palestinian prisoners returned home to a hero’s welcome in the occupied West Bank on November 24

    Palestinian families rejoice over release of minor, women from Israeli prisons amid ceasefire

    Over three dozen Palestinian prisoners returned home to a hero’s welcome in the occupied West Bank

  • November 25, 2023 14:42
    Israeli authorities say 42 prisoners to be released Saturday under truce deal
  • November 25, 2023 14:13
    13 more Israeli hostages likely to be freed by Hamas on Saturday

    A second group of 13 Israeli hostages, mostly children, are expected to be freed by Hamas militants on Saturday after they were abducted during the horrific onslaught on the country on October 7.

    The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that it received the names on Friday night of people to be released on Saturday, the second day of the exchange deal.

    The deal brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States leaves room for extending the “pause in fighting” with Israel agreeing to extend it by an extra day for every ten captives being released beyond the 50 agreed.

    The remaining 24 hostages out of the 50 agreed for release are likely to come out in batches of 12 on Sunday and Monday.

    - PTI

  • November 25, 2023 13:53
    Israeli-owned ship targeted in suspected Iranian attack in Indian Ocean

    A container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire came under attack by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean as Israel wages war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, an American defense official said.

    The attack Friday on the CMA CGM Symi comes as global shipping increasingly finds itself targeted in the weekslong war that threatens to become a wider regional conflict — even as a truce has halted fighting and Hamas exchanges hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

    The defense official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the Malta-flagged vessel was suspected to have been targeted by a triangle-shaped, bomb-carrying Shahed-136 drone while in international waters. The drone exploded, causing damage to the ship but not injuring any of its crew.

    - AP

  • November 25, 2023 13:24
    Displaced Palestinians begin their long journey back home as the guns fell silent across the Gaza Strip
  • November 25, 2023 12:58
    ‘I’m not dead,’ Thai hostage says after ‘miracle’ release in Gaza

    Vetoon Phoome’s family feared the Thai farm worker had been killed by Hamas in last month’s attack on Israel, until they learned on Saturday he had been free as a hostage in Gaza.

    “He told me not to cry, to tell mother I’m coming back,” Roongarun Wichagern told Reuters of her younger brother after an emotional reunion on a video call.

    Vetoon, 33, who has been living in Israel for five years, is one of 10 Thai hostages freed by Hamas during the first truce of a seven-week-old war that started with the Palestinian militant group’s attack.

    “He said, ‘I’m not dead, I’m not dead,’” Roongarun said, calling his survival a “miracle”.

    Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 11:48
    France detains Nice footballer Atal over post on Israel-Hamas war

    French police on Friday detained Algerian international Youcef Atal, who plays for Ligue 1 football side Nice, in a probe into suspected “justification of terrorism” after he published a social media post on the Israel-Hamas war, prosecutors said.

    Last month the 27-year-old defender was banned for seven matches over the post, which he quickly deleted and subsequently issued an apology.

    The public prosecutor in Nice opened a probe following a request from the local prefect and mayor of Nice.

    AFP

  • November 25, 2023 11:37
    Hamas to free new wave of hostages in Gaza truce

    Hamas fighters are set to release a new wave of hostages Saturday in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, officials said, offering hope to anguished families after seven weeks of war that have killed thousands of people.

    Key mediator Qatar was expected to announce the numbers of prisoners and hostages to be freed later Saturday, the second swap since a four-day ceasefire came into effect on Friday and largely silenced the guns on both sides.

    Israeli authorities said they had received a list of the hostages to be freed but did not provide numbers or the precise timing.

    AFP

  • November 25, 2023 10:35
    Four children, six elderly women among 13 freed hostages: Israeli list

    Four children and six elderly women were among the first batch of 13 Israeli hostages released Friday under a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, an official Israeli list showed.

    Three girls and a boy, aged from two to nine, were on the list issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office, as were six women aged over 70. Eight of the 13 freed hostages were from three family groups.

    AFP

  • November 25, 2023 09:29
    4 of the 10 Thai hostages released by Hamas had not been listed as abducted

    Hamas freed 10 Thai nationals Friday alongside Israeli hostages who were part of the first swap under a new cease-fire deal — including four Thais who had not been officially listed as abducted, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry announced Saturday morning.

    Thais were the single biggest group of foreigners taken hostage when Hamas took some 240 people during its Oct. 7 surprise attack on southern Israel. Thais working in Israel are mostly employed as semi-skilled farm laborers, at wages considerably higher than those at they can earn at home.

    AP

  • November 25, 2023 09:12
    WHO voices concern over fate of Gaza hospital chief

    The World Health Organization voiced concern on Friday about the fate of the head of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, whom Israeli forces detained over the facility’s alleged use by Hamas.

    The WHO said in a statement that the chief of the biggest hospital in the besieged Palestinian territory had been arrested on Wednesday along with five other health workers, while they were taking part in a UN mission to evacuate patients.

    “Three medical personnel from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and three from the Ministry of Health were detained,” the WHO said. - AFP

  • November 25, 2023 08:59
    Philippines hostage being medically evaluated

    A national of the Philippines was in the first group of hostages freed by the militant group Hamas, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Saturday.

    Marcos wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that 33-year-old Gelienor ‘Jimmy’ Pacheco, who was taken to Gaza on Oct. 7, is now in the care of the Philippine Embassy in Israel.

    That Israeli Embassy in Manila said Pacheco is being medically evaluated.

  • November 25, 2023 08:14
    Ecuador president to post VP in Israel for peace talks

    Ecuador’s vice president will take up a post in Tel Aviv to pursue a peace agreement between Israeli and the Palestinians, the government in Quito said Friday.

    President Daniel Noboa, who took office on Thursday for an abbreviated 18-month term, assigned the peace portfolio to Vice President Veronica Abad as her “sole function,” a statement said.

    Abad will work out of Ecuador’s embassy in Tel Aviv as “collaborator for peace and to prevent the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine,” it said without specifying when she will travel there or for how long.

    AFP

  • November 25, 2023 08:06
    Thailand says 20 of its nationals still held by Hamas after 10 freed

    Twenty Thai nationals were still being held by Hamas after the Palestinian militant group freed 10, Thailand’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.

    The Thai hostages freed from Gaza in Friday’s exchange of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinians from Israeli jails would return home after 48 hours in hospital, the ministry said in a statement.

    The released Thai hostages included one woman, according to photos released by the ministry, which showed them dressed in green jackets and with doctors at a medical centre in Israel.

    Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 07:56
    Families of hostages not slated for release from Gaza during current truce face enduring nightmare

    All of the men, and many women, will remain captive in Gaza for now. It was not clear if all children were expected to be freed. Hamas on Friday freed 24 people, including 13 Israeli women and children, 10 people from Thailand and one Filipino.

    “It’s a deal that puts the families in a situation that is inhuman. Who will come out and who won’t?” Bibas Levy asked. “The children come out, but my brother and many other people stay?” Her relatives were not among those freed in the first release.

    AP

  • November 25, 2023 07:55
    Palestinian families rejoice over release of minors and women in wartime prisoner swap

    Over three dozen Palestinian prisoners returned home to a hero’s welcome in the occupied West Bank on Friday following their release from Israeli prisons as part of a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

    The procession of freed prisoners, some accused of minor offenses and others convicted in attacks, at a checkpoint outside of Jerusalem stoked massive crowds of Palestinians into a chanting, clapping, hand-waving, screaming frenzy.

    AP

  • November 25, 2023 07:54
    “We condemn false claims of Prime Ministers of Spain, Belgium who give support to terrorism”: Israel Foreign Minister

    Following comments made by the Prime Minister of Spain and the Prime Minister of Belgium at the Rafah Crossing in preparation for the return of 13 Israeli Hostages, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen issued instructions to Israeli Ambassadors in these nations to relay sharp reprimand regarding their comments.

    “We condemn the false claims of the Prime Ministers of Spain and Belgium who give support to terrorism,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said.

    ANI

  • November 25, 2023 07:10
    Biden hopeful about Israel-Hamas truce extension, U.S. hostages release

    U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday that the chances were “real” of a truce between Israel and Hamas being extended and he expressed hope that U.S. citizens taken hostage by the Palestinian militant group would be freed soon.

    Mr. Biden praised U.S. diplomacy behind Friday’s release of 24 hostages held by Hamas fighters, saying it was the start of what he expected would be further hostage releases by the Palestinian militant group in the coming days.

    Read more here...

  • November 25, 2023 07:05
    Israeli ‘not celebrating’ after family released by Hamas

    An Israeli man whose family was kidnapped by Hamas and freed on Friday said he was happy but could not celebrate their return without the release of all those still held in the Gaza Strip.

    Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages on the first day of a truce in the Palestinian territory, bringing the total number of captives released to 29 of around 240 taken when the Islamist group launched its deadly October 7 attack on Israel.

    AFP

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.