Israel-Hamas truce November 26 updates | More captives, prisoners freed in Gaza as truce extension mooted

Hamas announced in a statement on Sunday that it is seeking to extend its four-day truce with Israel should serious efforts be made to increase the number of Palestinian detainees released from Israel

November 26, 2023 09:19 am | Updated November 27, 2023 06:58 am IST

Prominent Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis (C) arrives at her home in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem early on November 26, 2023, after detainees were released from Israeli jails in exchange for hostages released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

Prominent Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis (C) arrives at her home in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem early on November 26, 2023, after detainees were released from Israeli jails in exchange for hostages released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip. | Photo Credit: AFP

Hamas militants released a third group of hostages including a four-year-old American girl on Sunday with more Palestinian prisoners set to be freed in exchange, as a source close to the group said it was willing to prolong a truce.

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The exchanges under a four-day ceasefire that started Friday have been the first relief for captives’ families since the militant group attacked Israel on October 7, prompting devastating Israeli bombardments of the Gaza Strip.

Check updates from Day 50 of the war here

Sunday’s releases bring the total number of Israelis freed under the deal to 39 since Friday. In exchange, a further 39 Palestinian prisoners were freed on Sunday, the Israeli prison service said. This followed the release of 78 other Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails over the past two days.

Hamas announced in a statement on Sunday that it is seeking to extend its four-day truce with Israel should serious efforts be made to increase the number of Palestinian detainees released from Israel. 

Explained | Where does India stand on the Israel-Hamas war?

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden also said he hoped the truce brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, would extend “beyond tomorrow”. 

Israeli leaders, however, have tempered hopes of a lasting halt to the offensive. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday: “We continue until the end — until victory.”

Follow all Live updates here
  • November 27, 2023 03:59
    Elon Musk to meet Israeli President, Gaza hostage families on Monday

    Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, accused by civil rights groups of amplifying anti-Jewish hatred on his X social media platform, will meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday along with Israelis whose relatives have been held by Hamas in Gaza.

    Herzog’s office announced the meeting on Sunday night, saying, “In their meeting, the president will emphasize the need to act to combat rising antisemitism online.”

    Mr. Musk, a billionaire who also runs Tesla and SpaceX, did not respond to requests for comment through spokespeople for Tesla and X, formerly known as Twitter.

    Mr. Musk’s visit coincides with a four-day truce in an Israeli war with Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza during which 40 of the 240 hostages Israel says have been held by Hamas have returned to Israel.

    Israel’s Channel 12 said Mr. Musk would also meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. There was no immediate comment from his office.

    - Reuters

  • November 27, 2023 02:24
    A two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security: Biden
  • November 27, 2023 00:58
    France hopes Israel-Hamas truce lasts until all hostages freed: Minister

    France hopes the four-day truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas will last until all hostages held by the Palestinian militant group are freed, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Sunday.

    “We demand the release of our hostages and all the hostages. It would be good, helpful and necessary for the truce to be extended to this end,” she told BFMTV.

    - AFP

  • November 27, 2023 00:33
    Hamas seeks to extend truce with Israel with some conditions: statement

    Hamas announced in a statement on Sunday that it is seeking to extend its four-day truce with Israel should serious efforts be made to increase the number of Palestinian detainees released from Israel. 

    - Reuters

  • November 27, 2023 00:06
    Turkish, Iranian leaders affirm mutual stance against Israel

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi discussed on a call on Sunday the importance of Muslim countries, especially Turkey and Iran, taking a common stance against “Israeli brutality in the Palestinian territories.”

    “Israel’s unlawful attacks on Gaza, humanitarian aid efforts for Palestinians and possible measures towards a permanent ceasefire in the region were discussed during the phone call,” the Turkish Presidency said in a statement.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 23:30
    Biden announces release by Hamas of four-year-old U.S. hostage

    A four-year-old American girl is safely in Israel after being released Sunday from captivity in Gaza, U.S. President Joe Biden said as he urged the pause in Israel-Hamas fighting be extended to allow for more hostage releases.

    “She’s free and she’s in Israel now,” Mr. Biden said in a hastily arranged appearance before the media after the Israeli army announced that 17 hostages were being freed by Hamas.

    “She’s been through a terrible trauma,” Mr. Biden said of Abigail, whose parents were murdered by Hamas militants when members of the Islamist group attacked Israel on October 7. On Friday in captivity, she marked her fourth birthday, the U.S. President said.

    “Today, she’s free, and Jill (Biden) and I, together with so many Americans, are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright,” he said.

    “She is now safely in Israel, and we continue to press and expect for additional Americans will be released as well. And we will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones.”

    The White House has said that 10 Americans — seven men, two women and Abigail — were missing and presumed held hostage by Hamas.

    Mr. Biden said a total of 58 hostages have now been released by Hamas during the current temporary halt in fighting, through what he called “intensive U.S. diplomacy” by himself and administration officials working with Israel, Qatar, Egypt and others.

    The U.S. President said he hoped to see the pause extended.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 22:59
    Elon Musk to meet Israeli leaders on November 27

    Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur accused by civil rights groups of amplifying anti-Jewish hatred on his X social media platform, will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog in Israel on November 27, Channel 12 TV said.

    An Israeli source confirmed the visit by Musk, the billionaire who also runs Tesla and SpaceX.

    Netanyahu met Musk in California on Sept. 18 and urged him to strike a balance between protecting free expression and fighting hate speech after weeks of controversy over antisemitic content on X.

    Musk responded by saying he was against antisemitism and against anything that “promotes hate and conflict,” repeating his previous statements that X would not promote hate speech.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 22:53
    Biden says 4-year-old U.S. hostage was released by Hamas

    U.S. President Joe Biden on November 26 said a four-year-old American hostage has been released in Gaza and that he hopes a pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas fighters can continue to exchange prisoners.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 22:38
    Israeli Army says 13 released hostages back in Israeli territory, 4 more en route

    The Israeli Army said that the 13 released hostages were back on Israeli territory and another four were on their way to Egypt.

    Twelve were headed to a military base, accompanied by Israeli special forces, it said in a statement, and one had been flown directly to hospital. Four additional released hostages were on their way to the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, it added.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 22:18
    Egyptian President Sisi thanks Qatar’s Emir for Gaza truce efforts

    Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi thanked Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his work in mediating a truce for Gaza and the exchange of prisoners between Hamas and Israel. 

    “I look forward to more cooperation that can help meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people and to establish a comprehensive peace in the region,” Sisi said on social media.

    Meanwhile, 39 Palestinians held by Israel are to be released from prison on November 26, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.

    As part of agreed commitments, on the third day of the Gaza truce, “39 Palestinian civilians will be released today in exchange for the release of 13 Israeli detainees from Gaza, in addition to a detainee holding Russian citizenship and 3 Thais,” Majed Al-Ansari said in post on X, formerly Twitter.

    - Agencies

  • November 26, 2023 22:15
    Egypt foreign minister discusses Israel-Hamas truce with U.S. Secretary of State

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received a call from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on November 26 to discuss obstacles threatening Israel’s truce with Hamas and ways to reach a comprehensive ceasefire, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said.

    During the phone call, Shoukry stressed the need to build on the truce while implementing the United Nations Security Council resolution issued on November 15, which calls for humanitarian pauses that can allow aid into Gaza, the Ministry said in a statement. 

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 21:42
    Thousands march against antisemitism in London; former U.K. PM Boris Johnson joins

    Protesters holding placards take part in a demonstration in central London, on November 26, 2023, to protest against antisemitism. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

    Thousands of people, including former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, gathered in London for a march against antisemitism, a day after large crowds turned out for a pro-Palestinian rally.

    Johnson was joined by the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and other senior government officials at the march to express solidarity with the Jewish community. Organisers billed it as the largest gathering against antisemitism in London for decades.

  • November 26, 2023 21:35
    Biden to talk with Netanyahu on November 26

    U.S. President Joe Biden will talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 26, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation”.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 21:34
    ‘We continue until victory’ : Netanyahu tells troops in Gaza

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 26 made his first trip to Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began, telling soldiers there that Israel will continue until it wins.

    “We continue until the end -- until victory,” he said. “Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the war’s goals, and we will,” he added.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 21:26
    Israeli Army says 14 Israeli hostages, 3 foreigners handed to Red Cross in Gaza

    Fourteen Israeli hostages and three foreign nationals were handed over to the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the Israeli Army said.

    “Based on information that was received from the Red Cross, 14 Israeli hostages and three foreign hostages have been transferred to the Red Cross,” it said in a statement on the third day of an agreed pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, that is to also see Palestinian prisoners freed in Israel.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 20:45
    Damascus airport targeted by Israeli air strikes, monitoring group says

    Israeli air strikes targeted Damascus airport on November 26, forcing incoming flights to be diverted elsewhere, a war monitoring group and a Syrian pro-government newspaper said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israeli air strikes had targeted Damascus International Airport. There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

    Flights scheduled to arrive in Damascus were being diverted to Latakia and Aleppo, Al Watan newspaper said.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 20:44
    Hamas says it has released one Russian hostage

    Hamas said it had released a Russian hostage held by its militants in the Gaza Strip, without saying who was freed or exactly when.

    “In response to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in appreciation of the Russian position in support of the Palestinian cause, the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas released one of the detainees of the Russian citizenship,” it said in a statement.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 20:31
    Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza through Rafah crossing
  • November 26, 2023 20:01
    Spain PM stands by Gaza comments that angered Israel

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defended comments he made about the Israeli offensive in Gaza which angered Israel, saying “it was a question of being humane”.

    Visiting the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on November 24 with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Sanchez said the “indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians” in the Palestinian territory was “completely unacceptable”.

    Both leaders called for a permanent ceasefire in the war-battered territory, with the Belgian premier also denouncing the destruction in the Gaza Strip as “unacceptable”. 

    The Israeli Foreign Ministry swiftly summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium for a “harsh rebuke” over comments by the two countries’ leaders, accusing them of supporting “terrorism”.

    “Condemning the vile terrorist attacks of a terrorist group like Hamas and at the same condemning the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in Gaza, is not a question of political parties nor of ideology, it is a question of being humane,” Sanchez told a gathering of his Socialist party in Madrid to applause from the audience.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 19:42
    Egypt receives lists for 13 Israelis and 39 Palestinians for release today

    Egypt received lists of 13 Israelis and 39 Palestinians scheduled for release on November 26, the third batch in the four-day truce deal brokered by Egypt and Qatar, Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, said in a statement.

    “The truce is proceeding without roadblocks,” the statement said, adding that 120 aid tucks crossed from Egypt to Gaza in the day, including two fuel trucks and two with gas for cooking.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 19:38
    White House says it believes a U.S. hostage in Gaza will be released today

    White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said there was “reason to believe” a U.S. hostage would be released from captivity in Gaza on November 26.

    “We have reason to believe that one of those Americans will be released today,” Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

    Sullivan declined to give the identity of the hostage who might be released. He was asked whether it was a four-year-old girl whose parents were killed, he said: “We have a sense of who it is but I am just not in a position to confirm it.” 

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 19:15
    Israel warns Palestinians not to return to Northern Gaza

    The Israel Defence Force warned Palestinians who evacuated northern Gaza not to return amid the four-day truce between Israel and the Hamas.

    The IDF’s Arabic spokesman Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee directed Palestinians to continue moving south of Wadi Gaza. He also instructed Gazans not to try return to the northern areas, enter the sea or approach within one kilometer of the Israel-Gaza border. 

    One condition of the temporary ceasefire was that Palestinians would not try to return to their homes in the combat zone of northern Gaza. While there does not appear to be large-scale Palestinian efforts to return, the warnings have not stopped some Palestinians from returning to inspect damage or bury the dead.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 18:30
    18 Thai nationals still in captivity in Gaza

    Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that according to information it has received from Israel, 18 Thai nationals remain captive in Gaza. 

    Meanwhile, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin released the names of the four Thai nationals who were freed on November 25 night. They are Natthaphon Onkaew, Khomkrit Chombua, Anucha Angkaew and Manee Jirachat. 

    The four were taken to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Be’er Yaakov.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 18:10
    Pope welcomes Israel-Hamas truce, hostage releases

    Pope Francis welcomed the truce between Israel and the Hamas, which has seen some hostages set free, and prayed for further releases.

    “Today we thank God because there is finally a truce between Israel and Palestine and some hostages have been freed,” the pontiff said in a statement read by a Vatican official at the weekly Angelus prayer.

    “We pray that they all may be (freed) as rapidly as possible and that more humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza and that they insist on dialogue,” the Pope said. 

    Dialogue “is the only way, the only path to peace. Those who do not want to hold a dialogue do not want peace,” he concluded.

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 17:34
    Israeli-linked oil tanker seized off the coast of Aden, Yemen, private intelligence firm says

    An oil tanker linked to Israel has been seized off the coast of Aden, Yemen, by an unknown force, a private security firm said.

    The Central Park, managed and owned by Zodiac Maritime, was seized in the Gulf of Aden, private intelligence firm Ambrey said.

    It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the attack. Aden is held by forces allied to Yemen’s internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition that has battled Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for years.

    Ambrey said that it appeared that “U.S. naval forces are engaged in the situation and have asked vessels to stay clear of the area.”

    - AP

  • November 26, 2023 15:55
    Four military commanders killed in fighting: Al Qassam Brigades

    The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas announced on Sunday the killing of four of its military commanders in the Gaza Strip, including the commander of the North Gaza brigade Ahmad Al Ghandour.

    “Al Ghandour (Abu Anas) is the member of the military council and the commander of the North Brigade,” Al Qassam Brigades said in a statement published on their Telegram channel.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 15:41
    Palestinian farmer killed by Israeli forces in Gaza

    A Palestinian farmer was killed and another injured on Sunday after they were targeted by Israeli forces in the Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of Gaza, the Palestinan Red Crescent said.

    The incident occurred on the third day of a four-day truce between Israel and the Palestinian militant faction Hamas.

    - Reuters

  • November 26, 2023 13:41
    Israeli forces kill at least 8 Palestinians in surging West Bank violence

    Israeli forces operating in the occupied West Bank killed at least eight Palestinians in a 24-hour period, Palestinian health officials said on Sunday, as a fragile pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip entered its third day.

    Violence in the West Bank has surged in the weeks since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, setting off a devastating war in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces have killed dozens of Palestinians and arrested hundreds in the West Bank. Jewish West Bank settlers have also stepped up attacks. - AP

  • November 26, 2023 13:39
    Fragile cease-fire in Gaza is back on track after hourslong delay in 2nd hostage-for-prisoner swap

    The tense cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to be back on track early on Sunday after the release of a second group of militant-held hostages and Palestinians from Israeli prisons, but the swap followed an hours-long delay that underscored the truce’s fragility.

    The exchange was delayed on Saturday evening after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement, which has brought the first significant pause in seven weeks of war marked by the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades, vast destruction and displacement across the Gaza Strip, and a hostage crisis that has shaken Israel. - AP

  • November 26, 2023 11:56
    Ceasefire extension?

    Egypt has said that it received positive feedback from both sides about the idea of extending the truce for a day or two and releasing more hostages and prisoners.

    Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called for “a permanent ceasefire and a complete end to this aggression”. But Israeli armed forces chief Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi on Saturday said that the war to eliminate Hamas would continue. - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 11:53
    The 13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas on Saturday

    Among the hostages freed late on Saturday was 21-year-old Maya Regev, who had been kidnapped by Hamas fighters in their deadly assault on the Supernova music festival, a brutal episode in the broader October 7 attack on Israel.

    She was the first of the music festival hostages to be released since armed Hamas fighters swooped on the event, killing hundreds, taking captives, and sending others fleeing for their lives. 

    Maya Regev and her 18-year-old brother Itay, who was also abducted from the festival, were shown tied up in the back of a pick-up truck in a video posted on social media after the attack.

    “I am so excited and happy that Maya is on her way to us now. Nonetheless, my heart is split because my son Itay is still in Hamas captivity in Gaza,” her mother Mirit said in a statement released by the hostage families’ forum. - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 11:38
    Hamas to release third group of Israeli hostages

    Hamas fighters were set on Sunday to release a third group of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, a day after freeing captives including a young woman snatched from a desert rave.

    In a sign of the fragility of the exchanges, the latest swap on Saturday was delayed for hours after Hamas accused Israel of breaching its side of the deal that led to a four-day ceasefire in the seven-week-old war. - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 11:34
    UN says 61 trucks deliver aid in northern Gaza

    The United Nations on Saturday said 61 trucks carrying medical supplies, food and water had delivered their payloads in northern Gaza, as a pause in fighting allows aid to enter the besieged coastal territory. 

    Another 200 trucks had been dispatched to the Gaza Strip from Nitzana, Israel, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement, with 187 of them having made it past the border by the early evening local time. - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 10:33
    Second day of the four-day truce

    The cease-fire, brokered by Qatar and the United States, is the first extended break in fighting since the war began. Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners. All are women and minors.

    Israel has said the truce can be extended by an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed, but has vowed to quickly resume its offensive and complete its goals of returning all hostages and destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities. - AP

  • November 26, 2023 09:46
    Hamas militants release 15 foreigners

    Hamas also freed 15 foreigners who were not included in its agreement with Israel: four Thai hostages on Saturday, in addition to ten Thais and one Filipino released on Friday. 

    - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 09:29
    Israel and Hamas complete 2nd day of swaps after tense delay, as Gaza cease-fire holds

    Hamas militants on Saturday released 17 hostages, including 13 Israelis, from captivity in the Gaza Strip, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian prisoners in the latest stage of a four-day cease-fire.

    The late-night exchange was held up for several hours after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement. The delay underscored the fragility of the cease-fire, which has halted a war that has shocked and shaken Israel, caused widespread destruction across the Gaza Strip, and threatened to unleash wider fighting across the region. - AP

  • November 26, 2023 09:26
    ‘That’s my son!’ Thai family overjoyed as second group of hostages freed

    The mother of a Thai hostage freed from Gaza late on Saturday said she was indescribably happy her son was among the four most recent Thai nationals confirmed as freed from Hamas captivity.

    “My granddaughter called me at 5 a.m. saying my son was among the hostages released and I didn’t really believe it,” Thongkoon Onkaew told Reuters by phone on Sunday. “Then she sent me the photo and I was like, ‘That’s my son! My son!’”

  • November 26, 2023 09:08
    All freed Palestinian prisoners are women, teenagers

    The freed Palestinian prisoners are all women and people under the age of 19, while the hostages released by Hamas are all women and children. 

    The agreement is supposed to last four days and allow the release of 50 Israelis and 150 Palestinians. - AFP

  • November 26, 2023 09:04
    39 Palestinians released under hostage deal return home

    Prison authorities in Israel announced early on Sunday that they had released 39 Palestinian detainees, after Hamas freed 13 hostages under an agreement that came into force on Friday. - AFP

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