Israel-Hamas truce updates | 24 hostages freed by Hamas; Israel releases 39 palestinians on Friday

Qatar says 39 women, children released from Israeli jails; The Red Cross says it has begun a multi-day operation to reunite hostages and detainees with their families in Israel and the Palestinian territories

November 24, 2023 06:44 am | Updated November 25, 2023 06:58 am IST

A released Palestinian prisoner kisses a loved one as she leaves the Israeli military prison, Ofer, after hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

A released Palestinian prisoner kisses a loved one as she leaves the Israeli military prison, Ofer, after hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A four-day ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war began on Friday in Gaza as part of an agreement that Qatar helped broker. Twenty-four hostages were freed, including 13 Israeli citizens, 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen, Qatar said. Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners later in the day.

With the truce deal comes increased shipments of fuel and supplies into Gaza — though still only enough to dent the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment, according to aid groups. Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 liters (34,300 gallons) of fuel a day into besieged Gaza for humanitarian needs for the duration of the truce.

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More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza after a dayslong pause in its casualty report, which it attributed to the health system’s collapse in northern Gaza making it impossible to provide a detailed count.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will press ahead with the war after the cease-fire expires. Some 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas.

Check updates from Day 48 of the war here

Under a deal negotiated by Qatar, 50 hostages are set to be freed during a four-day truce.

Israel is set to free 150 Palestinians over the next four days as part of the deal.

Editorial | Glimmer of hope: On the Israel-Hamas deal

(With inputs from Agencies)

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  • November 25, 2023 05:30
    Israel receives list of hostages to be released on Saturday by Hamas

    Israel has received a list of hostages set to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Palestinian militant group Hamas, officials said, following the release of 24 hostages during the first day of a planned four-day truce on Friday.

    Israeli security officials were reviewing the list, said a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 05:11
    Second flight in two days brings home Russians evacuated from Gaza

    A special aircraft brought home to Moscow 105 Russian nationals evacuated from Gaza, Russia’s emergencies ministry said early on Saturday, the second such flight in as many days.

    In a post on Telegram, the ministry said the group, including 55 children, flew home aboard a chartered Ilyushin-76 aircraft. A similar flight arriving a day earlier brought home 101 Russian nationals. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 04:51
    Australia welcomes Israel-Hamas ceasefire as ‘important progress’

    Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday a truce in the Israel-Hamas war marked “important progress” in the conflict, as he welcomed the release of hostages by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 04:23
    Many tunnels to ‘demolish’ after ceasefire ends, says Israeli military spokesman

    The Israeli military has “gotten to the heart” of Hamas’ military assets and plans to continue active fighting once a ceasefire ends, a spokesman said on Friday.

    “There are still many goals and many tunnels to demolish, including some we have destroyed even this morning right before the ceasefire began,” Israeli Defence Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters. - AP

  • November 25, 2023 04:02
    Four Germans among hostages released from Gaza - foreign ministry

    Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Friday four Germans were among the 24 hostages released from captivity in Gaza on the first day of a four-day truce in the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 03:17
    Israeli military says preparing for next stage of Gaza operation

    Israeli forces are using a four day truce with the Islamist movement Hamas, agreed to allow some hostages to be returned, to prepare the next phase of their operation in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s chief military spokesperson said on Friday.

    “During the days of the truce, the IDF will complete its preparation and readiness for the next stages of the war,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a regular briefing. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 02:51
    Israel summons Spain, Belgium envoys over Gaza comments

    The Israeli foreign ministry on Friday summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium for a “harsh rebuke” over comments by the two countries’ leaders about the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

    Spain’s foreign ministry swiftly riposted by calling in the Israeli ambassador to explain her government’s “false and unacceptable” allegations against the Spanish prime minister. - AFP

  • November 25, 2023 01:59
    Biden cheers U.S. diplomacy behind Gaza hostage release, says only a start

    President Joe 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.

    “Beginning this morning, under a deal reached by extensive U.S. diplomacy, including numerous calls I’ve made from the Oval Office to leaders across the region, fighting in Gaza will halt for four days,” Biden told a news conference. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 01:19
    Committed to return of all hostages, says Netanyahu

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday welcomed the release of hostages taken in Hamas’ October 7 raid into Israel, including 13 Israeli citizens, but said his government is committed to the return of all hostages.

    About 240 people were taken in the attack.

    Mr. Netanyahu described each of the hostages released as a four-day cease-fire began as “a world of their own”.

    He said getting back all the hostages “is one of the goals of the war and we are committed to achieving all of the goals of the war”. - AP

  • November 25, 2023 00:13
    137 trucks of goods enter Gaza - U.N. statement

    137 trucks of goods were offloaded by the UNRWA reception point in the Gaza Strip on Friday, the biggest humanitarian convoy received since October 7, the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) said in a statement.

    The OCHA added that 129,000 litres of fuel and four trucks carrying gas also crossed into Gaza. - Reuters

  • November 25, 2023 00:11
    EU’s von der Leyen says extremist violence in West Bank settlements must stop

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday that rising violence by extremists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank had to stop.

    “We must prevent violence from spreading, and therefore a peaceful co-existence is only possible with the two-state solution,” Von der Leyen told a news conference in Canada alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Charles Michel. - Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 23:37
    Palestinian NGO: 39 released from prison by Israel under truce agreement

    A Palestinian NGO said on Friday that 39 prisoners had been released by Israeli authorities under a truce agreement to pause the fighting in Gaza, after 13 hostages from Israel had been handed over.

    A total of 28 prisoners were released in the occupied West Bank, an AFP correspondent saw, while the other 11 were on their way to annexed east Jerusalem. - AFP

    A released Palestinian prisoner gestures as she leaves the Israeli military prison, Ofer, after hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 24, 2023. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

  • November 24, 2023 23:20
    U.S. Embassy in Lebanon says there have been 12 hours of calm on border with Israel

    The U.S. embassy in Lebanon on Friday said there had been 12 hours of calm along the Blue Line marking the border with Israel, where daily exchanges of fire had been taking place between armed group Hezbollah and Israel.

    The frontier had been quiet since early Friday morning, residents said, apart from a small spray of fire from the Israeli side. It followed a temporary truce brokered by Qatar between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which did not formally extend to Lebanon. - Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 22:52
    Spain denounces ‘indiscriminate’ Gaza deaths, angering Israel

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on November 24 denounced what he called the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in Gaza, drawing an angry response from Israel which said the remarks gave terrorism a boost.

    Speaking on a visit to Gaza’s Rafah border with his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo, Sanchez also called for a lasting humanitarian ceasefire “to reverse the catastrophic situation that the people of the (Gaza) Strip are going through.”

    “The indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, including thousands of boys and girls, are completely unacceptable,” he said.

    Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen later issued a statement accusing Sanchez and De Croo of “false claims” that “give terrorism a boost” and said he had summoned the Spanish and Belgian ambassadors to explain the comments.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also weighed in, saying the two European leaders had failed to spotlight what he called Hamas’ crimes against humanity.

    “Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu strongly condemns the remarks made by the Belgian and Spanish prime ministers for not placing the full responsibility of the crimes against humanity committed by Hamas, who massacred our citizens and who use the Palestinians as human shields,” a statement by Netanyahu’s office said. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 22:49
    Israel releases names of hostages freed from Gaza on November 24, 2023.

    There were no major reports of bombings, artillery strikes or rocket attacks as Israel and Hamas started a four-day ceasefire in Gaza, the first pause in a 48-day-old war that has devastated the Palestinian enclave.

    Israel releases names of hostages freed from Gaza on November 24, 2023.

  • November 24, 2023 22:41
    Israeli military says freed hostages have returned to Israel after 7 weeks of captivity in Gaza

    The Israeli military says the hostages released by Hamas as part of a ceasefire deal have returned to Israel.

    In a statement on November 24, military officials said the hostages underwent an initial medical check inside Israeli territory. They were to be accompanied by Israeli soldiers to hospitals to be reunited with their families.

    Qatar said a total of 24 hostages were freed, including 13 Israelis. -- AP

  • November 24, 2023 21:53
    39 released from Israeli jails

    A total of 39 women and children detained in Israeli jails were released as part of a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a post on X on November 24.

  • November 24, 2023 21:51
    Red Cross begins ‘multi-day’ Gaza hostages, Palestinian detainees operation

    The Red Cross said it began on November 24 a multi-day operation to reunite hostages and detainees with their families in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

    “Teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday began carrying out a multi-day operation to facilitate the release and transfer of hostages held in Gaza and of Palestinian detainees to the West Bank. The operation will include the delivery of additional, much-needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” the ICRC said in a statement. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 21:09
    Israeli media say Hamas has released 13 Israeli hostages

    Israeli media say the Hamas militant group has released the first batch of hostages under a ceasefire deal on November 24, including 13 Israelis who have been held in the Gaza Strip for nearly seven weeks.

    The media cited Israeli security officials.

    Twelve Thai nationals were also released, according to Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

    In all, 50 captives are set to be freed during a four-day truce.

    Israel is set to free 150 Palestinians over the next four days, as part of the deal. Thirty-nine prisoners are to be freed on November 24. -- AP

  • November 24, 2023 20:53
    Hamas sources say Israel hostages handed over to Egypt

    Two Hamas sources told AFP that some of the hostages seized in the October 7 raids on Israel were on November 24 handed over to the Red Cross for return to Israel, via Egypt.

    “Half an hour ago, the prisoners were handed to the Red Cross who will take them to the Egyptians” at the Rafah crossing, one of the sources said.

    “They were handed over to the Egyptian side,” the source added.

    A source in the military wing of Hamas confirmed the handover, adding: “This is the first group under the agreement.”

    A first tranche of 13 women and children hostages were expected to go back to Israel on Friday after a ceasefire between Israeli and Hamas went into effect in the Gaza Strip in the morning.

    Israel is set to release three times as many Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails — women and teenage boys — under the terms of the deal reach with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

    Hamas broke through Gaza’s militarised border with Israel on October 7 to kill, according to Israeli officials, about 1,200 people and seize around 240 Israeli and foreign hostages.

    Israel has vowed to “crush” Hamas in response and unleashed a withering military campaign that Gaza’s Hamas government says has killed nearly 15,000 people in the coastal territory.

  • November 24, 2023 20:04
    Israeli army withdraws from Gaza hospital after truce: Hamas ministry

    Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital Al-Shifa on Friday, the Hamas-run health ministry said, on the first day of a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian militants.

    The Israeli military raided Al-Shifa last week, targeting what it said was a Hamas command centre in a tunnel complex beneath the medical facility. The Palestinian militant group and hospital officials have repeatedly denied the claim.

    Al-Shifa has been a major focus of Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip following attacks by Hamas across southern Israel on October 7, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people.

    Since the Israeli raid, many of the estimated 2,300 patients, staff and displaced civilians sheltering in the Al-Shifa complex have been evacuated to the south of the Gaza Strip.

    But the World Health Organization was “extremely concerned” about the safety of the estimated 100 patients and health workers remaining at Al-Shifa, spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

    Hamas health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, said the Israeli military had withdrawn but the people remaining at Al-Shifa were in a battered complex whose “main generator is destroyed along with numerous buildings”.

    The Israeli military did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

    “We’re working on further evacuations from hospitals as soon as possible,” said Lindmeier, with recent Israeli operations focusing on the Indonesian Hospital, another medical facility in northern Gaza. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 19:49
    12 Thailand nationals to be freed from Gaza along with 13 Israeli captives, say Egyptian officials

    Twelve Thailand nationals are to be released from Gaza on Friday, along with 13 Israeli captives, according to the head of Egypt’s state information service.

    The hostages are expected to pass through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

    Thirty-nine Palestinian prisoners are also to be released by Israel.

    The releases are part of a four-day ceasefire deal. -- AP

  • November 24, 2023 19:31
    Egypt prepares to receive Israel hostages from Hamas: statement

    Egypt is preparing to receive a number of Israeli hostages that will be released by Palestinian militant group Hamas as part of a truce and hostage swap deal agreed with Israel under Qatari and Egyptian mediation, Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) said in a statement on Friday.

    “Egypt’s mediation efforts have yielded the release of 12 Thai hostages and 13 Israelis, including women and children, held by Hamas,” the government media office said. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 19:06
    Gazans fill streets heading home as truce begins

    With children and pets in their arms and their belongings loaded onto donkey carts or car roofs, thousands of displaced Gazans headed home on Novermber 24 as a four-day Israel-Hamas truce began.

    The din of war was replaced by the horns of traffic jams and sirens of ambulances making their way through crowds emerging from hospitals and schools where they had taken refuge.

    For nearly seven weeks, Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip had been relentless.

    But on Novermber 24 morning, no more shots were heard in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Palestinian territory.

    Hayat al-Muammar was among those hurrying to take advantage of the truce deal, under which hostages seized from Israel will be freed in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

    “I’m going home,” said the 50-year-old, who had been sheltering in a school.

    “We fled the death, destruction and everything,” she told AFP.

    “I still don’t understand what happened to us -- why did they do this to us?” she asked.

    The lives of Gazans have been turned upside down since militant group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory, launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.

    Israeli authorities say around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and around 240 taken hostage in the cross-border raids.

    Weeks of sustained Israeli bombardment in response has killed nearly 15,000 people, around two thirds of them women and children, Gaza’s Hamas government says.

    Some 1.7 million of the territory’s 2.4 million people are estimated to have been displaced, and more than half of homes damaged or destroyed, the United Nations says. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 19:00
    Gaza truce is a short pause, says Israeli Defence Minister

    Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on November 24 that a truce under way with Hamas in Gaza was a “short pause”, after which Israel would resume operating with full military force.

    Mr.Gallant made the remarks to his Italian counterpart who was on a visit to Tel Aviv, according to his office. He spoke as Israel prepared to receive 13 hostages set to be freed from Gaza, in return for the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners.

    “There will be a short pause and then we will continue operating with full military power. We will not stop until we achieve our goals: the destruction of Hamas and bringing home the hostages from Gaza to Israel – there are 240 hostages and it is something we cannot accept and cannot tolerate,” Mr. Gallant said. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 18:48
    Egypt president says future Palestinian state could be demilitarised

    A future Palestinian state could be demilitarised and have a temporary international security presence to provide guarantees to both it and to Israel, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on November 24.

    “We said that we are ready for this state to be demilitarised, and there can also be guarantees of forces, whether NATO forces, United Nations forces, or Arab or American forces, until we achieve security for both states, the nascent Palestinian state and the Israeli state,” Mr. Sisi said during a joint news conference in Cairo with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

    A political resolution which requires a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, has remained out of reach, Sisi added.

    Arab nations have rejected suggestions that an Arab force provide security in the Gaza Strip after the end of Israel’s current military operation there against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.

    Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters in London this week that Arab states would not want to go into a Gaza Strip that could be turned into a “wasteland” by Israel’s military offensive.

    “What are the circumstances under which any of us would want to go and be seen as the enemy and be seen as having come to clean up Israel’s mess?” he said. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 18:47
    Israel awaits ‘miracle’ hostage release as truce begins

    Israel was eagerly awaiting what one official called the “miracle” release Friday of women and children taken hostage by Palestinian militants during the deadliest attack in the country’s history.

    But the authorities were also gearing up for the complex task of helping those returning home from a nearly seven-week hostage ordeal that may have left them deeply traumatised.

    Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to an Israeli count, and seizing about 240 hostages.

    Israel has vowed to “crush” Hamas in response and unleashed a withering military campaign that Gaza’s Hamas government says has killed nearly 15,000 people in the coastal territory.

    On Friday a first tranche of around a dozen women and children hostages were expected to be sent back to Israel in an exchange that would begin at 4:00 pm (1400 GMT).

    Israel is set to release three times as many Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails -- women and teenage boys -- under the terms of the deal reach with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

    “We hope the picture will be beautiful at the end of the day,” Ziv Agmon, legal adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, told reporters, saying Israel would “follow the agreement” but could not speak for Hamas.

    “With a terrorist organisation like Hamas, everything that happens in the coming days is a miracle,” he said.

    Over the course of the four-day truce, which began at 07:00 am, at least 50 hostages are expected to be freed, with 150 Palestinians prisoners to be released in exchange. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 18:45
    Palestinians in Gaza seeking refuge from war find their world is shrinking. They say nowhere is safe

    Gaza has always been a small, crowded space with hardly any exits. Now the world for Palestinians there has shrunk to the size of whatever refuge they can find.

    The strip is 25 miles (40 kilometers) long by some 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide. More than a month into the war, Israeli troops are spread throughout the northern third. More than 2 million people are now crammed into what’s left.

    Since mid-October, The Associated Press has followed four people trying to survive and communicate from that diminished world, using voice messages, video clips and the rare phone call. The sounds of explosions and drones pierce some of the nearly 80 recordings.

    Israel says it is dismantling Hamas, the group that unleashed a surprise attack on Oct. 7 that killed around 1,200 people in Israel. Weeks of Israeli bombardment have killed more than 13,000 Palestinians, 70% of them women and children.

    While most civilians could flee the combat zone in other wars like Ukraine, Palestinians in Gaza have no escape.

    The Owdas spent two years and most of their savings to build a new apartment. Moving day was scheduled for Oct. 7.

    That morning, Hosein Owda woke up to the sound of a barrage of rockets out of Gaza. His first thought was the move would have to be postponed.

    His world fell apart with dizzying speed. The apartment was gone in one airstrike and one of his best friends killed in another.

    A week into the war, some 15 family members crammed into two cars. Owda became one of thousands of newly displaced sheltering at a center in Khan Younis run by the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, that employs him. -- AP

  • November 24, 2023 18:31
    Hamas chief says committed to truce and hostage deal if Israel is too

    Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, said on Friday in a recording that the group is committed to the truce and hostage swap deal as long as Israel is committed as well. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 18:20
    U.K. doubles humanitarian aid to Gaza

    The U.K. will double its humanitarian aid to Gaza with a further £30 million (EUR34.5 million) for Palestinian civilians affected by the conflict between Israel and Hamas, foreign minister David Cameron said on November 24.

    Mr. Cameron met Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday and is due to hold discussions with Palestinian officials on Friday, for talks on how UK efforts can help alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, his office said.

    “I can announce new £30 million of funding which will be spent on vital aid such as shelter and medical provisions,” Mr. Cameron said in a statement.

    “It is vital to protect civilians from harm, and we are urgently looking at all avenues to get aid into Gaza, including land, maritime and air routes.”

    London has already released two tranches of aid: £10 million and £20 million last month.

    Mr. Cameron will also discuss supporting the Palestinian Authority, “including through training and capacity building” and look towards a long-term political solution to the crisis.

    His meetings come after the start of a four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war, with hostages set to be released in exchange for prisoners in the first major reprieve in seven weeks of war that have claimed thousands of lives.

    The two sides had agreed to silence guns and stop bombings from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) in a conflict that erupted after Hamas’s murderous raids into Israel on October 7, which Israel says killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 people hostage. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 17:53
    U.N. agencies hope truce will allow aid to flow to northern Gaza

    U.N. agencies voiced hope that a shaky truce that got underway between Israel and Hamas on November 24 would allow aid to flow to northern Gaza for the first time in weeks, while the World Health Organization said it is working on further hospital evacuations.

    Aid agencies have said they are aiming to deliver supplies to northern part of the Palestinian enclave where hospitals have collapsed due to bombings and lack of fuel and where there are major concerns about deyhydration and disease outbreaks.

    “The United Nations can confirm that as I speak trucks with humanitarian supplies continues to cross into Gaza through the Rafah crossing point,” said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA.

    Asked whether the United Nations had guarantees from Israel that it could deliver aid to the north, Laerke said: “We proceed on the basis of the hope and the expectation that we will reach people in need, where they are.”

    WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said the agency was working on further hospital evacuations as soon as possible. “We’re extremely concerned about the safety of the estimated 100 patients and health workers remaining at Al Shifa,” he said.

    He declined to react to comments from the Gaza health ministry saying it was suspending cooperation with the global health agency amid reports that Israel is holding medical staff for questioning. A WHO statement on that is due later on Friday, he added.

    Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies told Reuters that its local partner had a convoy of ambulances heading north to evacuate patients from Ahli Baptist Hospital.

    “We do hope that this pause in the fighting will give us the possibility of reaching all the people in Gaza, including areas in the north where it was impossible to have access,” he said. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 17:20
    Lebanon border calm as Israel-Hamas truce takes effect

    Calm returned to Lebanon’s southern border on November 24 as a temporary truce took effect in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to Lebanese state media and the Israeli military.

    Since the Gaza war erupted on October 7, Lebanon’s southern border with Israel has witnessed deadly exchanges of fire, primarily involving the Israeli army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, as well as Palestinian militant groups.

    Hezbollah has yet to say whether it will comply with the terms of the agreement that was brokered by Qatar with help from Egypt and the United States.

    “A precarious calm reigned on the southern border, with the humanitarian truce in Gaza coming into effect at 7:00 in the morning (0500 GMT),” Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported.

    Six hours after the Gaza pause went into force, an Israeli military spokesman confirmed to AFP that there had been no subsequent incidents or firing so far across the Lebanon border.

    The four-day truce in the Gaza Strip will see Hamas exchange 50 hostages seized from Israel during the October 7 attacks for 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

    An AFP journalist in the Marjayoun border region said he had heard exchanges of fire 10 minutes prior to the truce, before the guns fell silent. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 17:17
    Gaza war hinders Israel’s budding thaw with Morocco

    Israel’s fledgling rapprochement with Morocco, which had made steady progress in the three years since the two governments normalised relations, has been thrown into reverse by the deadly conflict in Gaza.

    Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have returned to the streets of the North African nation, as the death toll from some seven weeks of Israeli bombardment in Gaza has risen to nearly 15,000, mostly civilians, according to Hamas officials.

    The Israeli liaison office in Rabat was reportedly evacuated last month amid security concerns and Israeli visitors have disappeared from tourism hubs like Marrakesh and Essaouira, along with many of the restaurants opened to cater for them.

    All flights between the two countries have been suspended since the October 7 attacks by Hamas, which killed at least 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

    The outbreak of the conflict in Gaza also sparked an exodus of Israeli tourists and investors from Morocco. -- AFP

  • November 24, 2023 17:10
    ‘Extremely concerned’ about those left in Al Shifa Hospital: WHO

    A World Health Organization spokesperson said on Friday that it was working on further evacuations from northern Gaza hospitals as soon as possible as a truce gets underway, voicing fears for the safety of those remaining in Al Shifa Hospital.

    “We’re extremely concerned about the safety of the estimated 100 patients and health workers remaining at Al Shifa,” said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.

    He declined to react to comments from the Gaza health ministry saying it was suspending cooperation with the global health agency amid reports that Israel is holding medical staff for questioning. -- Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 16:58
    WHO: ‘Extremely concerned’ about those left in Al Shifa Hospital

    A World Health Organization spokesperson said on Friday that it was working on further evacuations from northern Gaza hospitals as soon as possible as a truce gets underway, voicing fears for the safety of those remaining in Al Shifa Hospital.

    “We’re extremely concerned about the safety of the estimated 100 patients and health workers remaining at Al Shifa,” said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.

    He declined to react to comments from the Gaza health ministry saying it was suspending cooperation with the global health agency amid reports that Israel is holding medical staff for questioning.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 16:42
    Ambulances arrive at Israeli military base ahead of hostage release

    Ambulances arrived at Hatzerim military air base in southern Israel on Friday, hours before hostages were expected to arrive after being released from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip.

    Israeli officials said that after arriving at the air base escorted by Israeli soldiers, the released hostages will be flown or driven to five different hospitals across the country for medical treatment, as needed.

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 16:28
    Israeli forces kill a 12-year-old boy in West Bank

    Israeli forces shot and killed a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said Friday, as violence surges in the territory under the shadow of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

    The boy was killed Thursday in the village of Beita near the flashpoint city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, the officials said.

    The Israeli military said Palestinians threw stones when soldiers entered the village and that troops responded with live fire. The military said it was looking into the circumstances of the boy’s death.

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 16:08
    Israeli troops fire at Palestinians attempting to return to northern Gaza

    Israeli troops fatally shot two Palestinians and wounded 11 others as they headed toward the main combat zone in northern Gaza despite warnings by the Israeli army to stay put.

    An Associated Press journalist saw the two bodies and the wounded as they arrived at a hospital in the town of Deir al-Balah in the southern half of Gaza. The injured had been shot in the legs.

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 15:57
    Israel warns Palestinians not to return to northern Gaza

    The Israeli military has warned hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who sought refuge in southern Gaza not to attempt to return to their homes in the northern half of the territory, the focus of Israel’s ground offensive.

    Arabic-language leaflets dropped Friday over southern Gaza said that “the war has not ended yet” and people should remain in place.

    “Returning to the north is prohibited and very dangerous,” the leaflets said. “Your fate and the fate of your families is in your hands. We have warned you.”

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 15:48
    IDF destroys tunnels under Al-Shifa hospital

    The Israeli military said Friday it has destroyed stretches of tunnels and a number of tunnel shafts in the area of Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest.

    On Thursday, Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel mapped out Shifa Hospital and plans to destroy all “terror infrastructure” it has found.

    Separately, the military said it continued to strike targets throughout the night leading up to a four-day truce that began Friday morning. It said it “completed its operational preparations according to the combat lines of the pause.”

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 15:34
    Lebanon border calm as Israel-Hamas truce takes effect

    Calm returned to Lebanon’s southern border Friday as a temporary truce took effect in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to state media, residents and an AFP journalist.

    An AFP journalist in the Marjayoun border region said he had heard exchanges of fire 10 minutes prior to the truce, before the guns fell silent.

    A resident in the Alma al-Shaab border region also said the situation was calm and that he could no longer hear Israeli planes or reconnaissance drones flying overhead.

    AFP

  • November 24, 2023 15:14
    Fuel and cooking gas tankers enter Gaza

    srael announced that four tankers with fuel and four tankers with cooking gas entered the Gaza Strip on Friday, the first day of what is meant to be a four-day cease-fire.

    Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 liters (34,300 gallons) of fuel a day into besieged Gaza for humanitarian needs for the duration of the truce. This would be roughly twice the amount permitted previously, but still only a small portion of Gaza’s daily needs, estimated at more than 1 million liters (264,000 gallons).

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 15:07
    Palestinians say 24 women, 15 teenaged males to be freed from Israeli jails

    Israel will on Friday release 39 Palestinians prisoners, among them 24 women and 15 teenaged males, in the occupied West Bank in exchange for 13 hostages due to be freed from the Gaza Strip by Hamas, a Palestinian official said.

    The inmates, all of them from the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem, will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Israel’s Ofer military jail around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), said Qadura Fares, Palestinian commissioner for prisoners.

    That would coincide with the planned handover at the Gaza-Egypt border of 13 women and children who were among some 240 people taken hostage by Hamas gunmen during a deadly Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 14:38
    Women and children to be released first

    Both sides will release women and children first. Israel said the truce would be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed.

    The first 50 hostages being released are Israeli citizens, including some who have a second nationality, according to a Hamas official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the details with the media.

    A first group of 13 women and children held by Hamas will be freed Friday afternoon, according to Majed al-Ansari, the spokesman of the Qatari foreign ministry. Three Palestinian prisoners, also women and minors, are to be released for every freed hostage.

    Israel’s Justice Ministry published a list of 300 prisoners eligible to be released, mainly teenagers detained over the past year for rock-throwing and other minor offenses.

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 14:16
    French foreign minister holds talks in China on climate and global tensions

    France and China should work together to reduce global tensions and address issues such as climate change and biodiversity, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Friday.

    Colonna was on an official trip to Beijing ahead of a major UN climate conference starting next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and an EU-China leaders meeting next month. Her visit coincided with the start of a four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war.

    Today’s tensions range from the wars in Gaza and Ukraine to the competition between China and the YS over trade, technology and security.

    A delegation of Arab foreign ministers held talks in China and France in recent days as part of a series of meetings with permanent members of the UN Security Council to push for a cease-fire in Gaza.

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 13:52
    Britain pledges additional aid to Gaza

    Britain will provide another 30 million pounds ($37.38 million)of humanitarian aid to Gaza, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Friday as he travels to the occupied Palestinian territories on the second day of his visit to the region.

    Cameron will meet Palestinian leaders and aid agencies.

    “We are hopeful that today will see the release of hostages, and I am urging all parties to continue to work towards the release of every hostage. A pause will also allow access for life-saving aid to the people of Gaza,” Cameron said in a statement.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 13:34
    Toronto police say hate crimes spiked since start of Gaza conflict

    The number of antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has spiked significantly since the start of the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7, authorities said on Friday.

    Police chief Myron Demkiw said 78 hate crimes had been reported between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20, compared to 37 in the same time frame in 2022. The real number was undoubtedly higher since some people were hesitant to come forward, he added.

    The number of reported antisemitic hate crimes in this period almost trebled to 38 from 13 last year, while those involving the Muslim, Palestinian and Arab population leapt to 17 from just one in 2022.

    “The impact of the events in the Middle East on our city are ongoing and have escalated since Oct. 7,” Demkiw told a televised news conference.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 13:20
    Aid trucks enter Gaza from Egypt after truce begins

    Aid trucks were entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Friday, around 1-1/2 hours after a truce began between Israel and Palestinian Hamas fighters, Reuters TV footage showed.

    Two of the trucks, representing Egyptian organisations, sported banners that said, “Together for Humanity.” Another said: “For our brothers in Gaza.”

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 12:50
    Lebanon’s Hezbollah intensifies attacks on Israel

    The Iran-backed Hezbollah group on Thursday intensified its attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon where Israeli bombardments killed seven of its fighters, including members of an elite unit.

    Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, the border between Lebanon and Israel has witnessed escalating exchanges of fire, primarily involving Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, along with Palestinian groups.

    The clashes have raised fears of a broader conflagration.

    Hezbollah said it carried out more than 20 attacks on Israeli military positions and claimed to have caused casualties.

    AFP

  • November 24, 2023 12:35
    Elon Musk set to visit Israel next week

    Business tycoon Elon Musk is expected to be in Israel next week, during which he will visit towns near the Gaza border that were attacked by Hamas on October 7, The Jerusalem Post reported citing Hebrew broadcast channel N12.

    According to the report, Musk will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit.

    Musk has come under increasing fire in recent weeks for supposed failures to combat antisemitism on the social media site X, formerly Twitter, which the entrepreneur bought in April 2022, The Jerusalem Post has reported.

    ANI

  • November 24, 2023 12:35
    Aid trucks enter Gaza from Egypt after truce begins

    Aid trucks were entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Friday, around 1-1/2 hours after a truce began between Israel and Palestinian Hamas fighters, Reuters TV footage showed.

    Two of the trucks, representing Egyptian organisations, sported banners that said, “Together for Humanity.” Another said: “For our brothers in Gaza.”

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 12:34
    Gaza truce appears to hold shakily as Israel, Hamas start ceasefire

    There were no major reports of bombings, artillery strikes or rocket attacks as Israel and Hamas started a four-day ceasefire in Gaza on Friday, the first pause in a 48-day-old war that has devastated the Palestinian enclave.

    The truce began at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), involving a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, the release of 13 Israeli women and child hostages by the militants later in the day and aid to flow into the besieged territory. A number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons were to be freed in exchange.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 12:01
    Israeli military warns displaced Palestinians not to return to their homes

    The Israeli military has warned hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who sought refuge in southern Gaza not to attempt to return to their homes in the northern half of the territory, the focus of Israel’s ground offensive.

    Arabic-language leaflets dropped Friday over southern Gaza said that “the war has not ended yet” and people should remain in place.

    “Returning to the north is prohibited and very dangerous,” the leaflets said. “Your fate and the fate of your families is in your hands. We have warned you.”

    AP

  • November 24, 2023 11:01
    Israel-Hamas truce takes effect

    A four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war took effect on Friday, with hostages set to be released in exchange for prisoners in the first major reprieve in seven weeks of war that have claimed thousands of lives.

    Starting from 7:00 am (0500 GMT), the pause was set to silence guns and stop bombings in a conflict that erupted after Hamas’s murderous raids into Israel on October 7.

    AFP

  • November 24, 2023 10:19
    Israel-Hamas truce and hostage release to start (AFP)
  • November 24, 2023 09:17
    Teams of Israeli trauma experts and medics will await hostages

    At least 50 hostages are expected to be released over the four days.

    Teams of Israeli trauma experts and medics will await them -- along with specially trained soldiers who, according to guidelines, will promise to keep them safe and carry a child’s favourite food item, be it pizza or chicken schnitzel.

    AFP has confirmed the identities of 210 of the roughly 240 people abducted during cross-border attacks by Hamas on military posts, communities and a desert music festival.

    At least 35 of those taken hostage were children, with 18 of them aged 10 or under at the time of the Hamas attack.

    Little is publicly known about the conditions the hostages have been held in.

    AFP

  • November 24, 2023 08:16
    Gaza truce and hostage release set to start

    A four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war was set to start Friday with hostages to be released in exchange for prisoners, the first major reprieve in seven weeks of conflict that have claimed thousands of lives.

    After prolonged negotiations, deliberations and delay, the pause was due to begin at 7:00 am (0500 GMT), silencing guns that have raged since Hamas’s murderous raids into Israel on October 7.

    The start of the truce is set to be followed by the release of a first group of 13 hostages being held in Gaza, and an undefined number of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, according to Qatari peacebrokers.

    For Gaza’s two million-plus residents, the deal spells a respite from relentless Israeli bombardments, which the strip’s Hamas government says have killed about 15,000 people and displaced countless more.

    AFP

  • November 24, 2023 08:12
    Hostage release at 4 p.m. today

    Additional aid would start flowing into Gaza and the first hostages including elderly women would be freed at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), with the total number rising to 50 over the four days, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said in Doha.

  • November 24, 2023 08:03
    Israel working to expand access to high speed fiber optics

    The inter-ministerial tender committee led by the Ministry of Communications decided on a quick mechanism for transferring payments from the incentive fund to companies operating in the combat zones and in the rest of the country as part of the first incentive tender to expand high-speed fibre optic cables to many more communities.

    The incentive tenders are a key tool in encouraging the market to expand the deployment of fibre and provide services over it in general across the country, and in particular in areas where Bezeq chose not to deploy optical fibres for reasons of economic viability. The incentive areas include dozens of settlements and hundreds of thousands of households, including many households in the border areas.

    So far, about 2.4 million households in Israel have had access to fiber-optic cables.

    ANI

  • November 24, 2023 07:31
    Truce to begin at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT)

    Israel and Hamas start a four-day truce on Friday morning with the militants to release a first group of 13 Israeli women and child hostages later in the day, the first break in a war that has devastated the besieged Gaza enclave.

    The truce is due to begin at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and involve a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, followed by the release of some of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during the Iran-backed Islamists’ Oct. 7 attack inside Israel, mediators in Qatar said.

    Reuters

  • November 24, 2023 06:56
    Egypt says 130,000 litres of diesel to be delivered daily to Gaza when truce starts

    Egypt said 130,000 litres of diesel and four trucks of gas will be delivered daily to Gaza when a four-day truce starts on Friday.

    Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), also said in a statement early on Friday that 200 trucks of aid would enter Gaza daily.

    Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas will start a four-day truce on Friday, at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT).

    Reuters

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