Live updates | Israel-Hamas truce begins with swap of hostages and prisoners; more expected Saturday

| | Rafah (Gaza Strip)
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Live updates | Israel-Hamas truce begins with swap of hostages and prisoners; more expected Saturday

Saturday, 25 November 2023 | AP | Rafah (Gaza Strip)

Live updates | Israel-Hamas truce begins with swap of hostages and prisoners; more expected Saturday

A four-day cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war began 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.

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.

 

Currently:

— A four-day truce begins, setting the stage for the release of dozens of hostages.

— Families of hostages not slated for release from Gaza during current truce face enduring nightmare.

— Palestinian families rejoice over release of minors and women.

— Palestinians in Gaza seeking refuge from war find their world is shrinking.

— Hezbollah fires rockets at north Israel after an airstrike kills 5 of the group's senior fighters.

 

 

Here's what's happening in the war:

FILIPINO AMONG FIRST GROUP OF HOSTAGES FREED BY HAMAS

 

MANILA, Philippines — 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.

Marcos said the government remains concerned about the whereabouts of Filipino national Noralyn Babadilla, who also reportedly was taken hostage by Hamas.

HOSPITAL SAYS MOST OF ISRAELI HOSTAGES RELEASED FRIDAY ARE IN GOOD HEALTH

 

JERUSALEM — Most of the Israeli hostages released by Hamas Friday were said to be in good health after returning to Israel, the hospital receiving them announced.

A statement from Schneider Children's hospital, where four women and four child hostages were released, said that doctors had conducted a preliminary examination and said they were all in good physical condition.

A total of 13 Israeli hostages were freed Friday and transferred to three separate hospitals across Israel.

ISRAEL SAYS HAMAS HAS GIVEN LIST OF HOSTAGES IT WILL FREE ON SATURDAY

 

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says it has received a new list of hostages to be released by Hamas on Saturday.

It would be the second batch of hostages to be released by the Islamic militant group under a four-day truce.

Netanyahu's office says it has notified the families whose loved-ones are set for release.

 

BIDEN: PUTTING CONDITIONS ON MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL IS WORTHWHILE THOUGHT'

 

NANTUCKET — President Joe Biden said Friday that he believes putting conditions on military aid to Israel is a “worthwhile thought,” and he hopes the Gaza cease-fire will last longer than four days.

Speaking to reporters from Nantucket, Massachusetts, Biden said he was encouraged by the release of some of the hostages and hopes for more.

“We expect more hostages to be released tomorrow, and more the day after, and more the day after that,” he said.

The freed hostages included 13 Israelis, 10 people from Thailand and one from the Philippines, according to Qatar, which was instrumental in brokering the deal to stop fighting. In return, Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison.

Biden said that conditioning military aid to Israel was a “worthwhile thought, but I don't think if I started off with that we would have ever gotten where we are today.”

He didn't give any examples of possible conditions.

MILITARY SPOKESMAN: MANY TUNNELS TO DEMOLISH' AFTER CEASE-FIRE ENDS

 

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military has “gotten to the heart” of Hamas' military assets and plans to continue active fighting once a cease-fire ends, a spokesman said 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 Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.

Hagari spoke on the first day of a cease-fire that included an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. The halt is scheduled expire on Monday unless additional Israeli hostages are released.

Hagari said the IDF would not allow Gazan civilians to return to their homes in the northern part of the Strip.

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

ISRAELIS RELEASE 39 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS

 

TEL AVIV — Israel confirmed Friday that it released 39 Palestinian prisoners in line with a truce deal that saw 13 Israeli hostages freed by militants in Gaza hours earlier.

Qadura Fares, who heads an advocacy group for prisoners, said 33 prisoners freed in the West Bank were handed to a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said the remaining six were being freed from a Jerusalem lockup.

The releases on both sides were part of a deal for a four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war that began Friday.

Over the next four days, 150 Palestinian prisoners and 50 Israeli hostages are to be freed.

NETANYAHU: COMMITTED TO RELEASE OF ALL HOSTAGES

 

 

TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday welcomed the release of hostages taken in Hamas' Oct. 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.

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.”

ISRAELIS FIRE TEAR GAS AT CROWD AWAITING PALESTINIANS' RELEASE

 

OUTSIDE OFER PRISON, West Bank — Israeli security forces fired volleys of tear gas Friday at thousands of Palestinians from all over the West Bank excitedly awaiting the release of 39 Palestinians in exchange for the hostages released by Hamas from Gaza.

Crowds waited for hours outside Israel's Ofer Prison in the West Bank for the Palestinians to emerge.

Shortly after some raucous boys surged through the crowds with Hamas flags, Israeli forces unleashed tear gas, sending families bolting in the opposite direction, screaming, coughing and covering their watery, bloodshot eyes with their shirts.

QATAR CONFIRMS RELEASE OF 24 HOSTAGES AFTER 7 WEEKS HELD IN GAZA

 

DOHA, Qatar — Qatar's Foreign Ministry has confirmed the release of 24 hostages after seven weeks of captivity in the Gaza Strip.

“Those released include 13 Israeli citizens, some of whom are dual citizens, in addition to 10 Thai citizens and a Filipino citizen,” said Majed al-Ansari, the ministry's spokesman. Qatar was a key mediator in the hostage release.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which delivered the hostages from Gaza into Egypt, also confirmed the release.

The hostages, women and children, were undergoing medical checks before they were to be transferred to Israel. They are to be taken to Israeli hospitals and reunited with their families. They're the first of 50 people to be released from Gaza during a four-day truce that began Friday.

Israel is to release 39 Palestinian prisoners later Friday, the first of a total of 150 Palestinian prisoners to be freed under the cease-fire.

ISRAEL SUMMONS AMBASSADORS OVER REMARKS BY SPAIN, BELGIUM LEADERS

 

RAFAH, Egypt — The Israeli government has summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium after remarks by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his Belgian counterpart Alexander de Croo Friday criticizing the bombing of civilians in Gaza and urging recognition for a Palestinian state.

Speaking at a joint press conference on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on Friday, Sánchez said the time has come for the international community and the European Union to recognize the State of Palestine, and warned that if it did not, Spain might do so on its own.

He said it would better if the EU did it together, “but if this is not the case … Spain will take their own decisions.”

He was speaking at end of a two-day visit to Israel, Palestinian Territories and Egypt with de Croo.

Israel has the right to defend itself "but it must do so within the parameters and limits imposed by international humanitarian law and this is not the case,” Sánchez said. “The indiscriminate killing of civilians, including thousands of boys and girls, are completely unacceptable.”

RED CROSS HELPING REUNITE HOSTAGES AND PRISONERS

 

GENEVA — The Red Cross says it has begun a “multi-day operation” to reunite hostages and detainees on both sides of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

The group's announcement came as Israeli media reported the Hamas militant group on Friday released the first batch of hostages under a cease-fire deal. The deal calls for 50 hostages to be freed over a four-day truce, with Israel to free 150 Palestinians in prison.

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