ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Nov. 22: Biden welcomes hostage deal in calls with Netanyahu, Sissi, Qatar’s emir

Security adviser Hanegbi says release of hostages ‘not before Friday’ * PM: Mossad has orders to act against Hamas heads ‘wherever they are’ * IDF ground op toll hits 70

  • US President Joe Biden speaks at a welcome reception for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative leaders at the Exploratorium, in San Francisco, November 15, 2023. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
    US President Joe Biden speaks at a welcome reception for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative leaders at the Exploratorium, in San Francisco, November 15, 2023. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
  • A man and a child walk past portraits of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 onslaught by Hamas, in Tel Aviv on November 21, 2023, during the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group. (Ahmad Gharabli/ AFP)
    A man and a child walk past portraits of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 onslaught by Hamas, in Tel Aviv on November 21, 2023, during the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group. (Ahmad Gharabli/ AFP)
  • IDF troops operate inside Gaza during the ongoing ground offensive against Hamas, in a picture released November 22, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)
    IDF troops operate inside Gaza during the ongoing ground offensive against Hamas, in a picture released November 22, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)
  • This photo released by the military on November 22, 2023, shows Cpt. Liron Snir, a commander in the Golani Brigade's Reconnaissance Battalion, who was killed fighting against Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)
    This photo released by the military on November 22, 2023, shows Cpt. Liron Snir, a commander in the Golani Brigade's Reconnaissance Battalion, who was killed fighting against Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Smoke rises following an Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
    Smoke rises following an Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)
    Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)
  • People walk through an installation simulating a tunnel in Gaza in an act of solidarity with hostages believed to be held underground by Hamas and calling for their return, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. Hamas and other terrorists abducted some 240 people, mostly Israeli civilians, during an Oct. 7 cross-border attack that triggered the latest war between Israel and the Islamic terror group. The two enemies have agreed to a cease-fire that is to include the release of 50 hostages in the coming days. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    People walk through an installation simulating a tunnel in Gaza in an act of solidarity with hostages believed to be held underground by Hamas and calling for their return, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. Hamas and other terrorists abducted some 240 people, mostly Israeli civilians, during an Oct. 7 cross-border attack that triggered the latest war between Israel and the Islamic terror group. The two enemies have agreed to a cease-fire that is to include the release of 50 hostages in the coming days. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed house following Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
    Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed house following Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they happened.

Biden welcomes hostage deal in calls with Netanyahu, Qatar’s emir and Egypt’s Sissi

US President Joe Biden speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to welcome the hostage deal that will include the release of 50 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, a four-day lull in fighting in the Palestinian enclave, and the release of some 150 Palestinian prisoners.

The implementation of the deal was set to start Thursday but, in a surprise announcement close to midnight, a top Netanyahu aide said the hostage release won’t begin before Friday at the earliest.

According to a White House readout of the call, Netanyahu and Biden “discussed the pause in the fighting, which will allow for surging in much needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” and agreed to remain in close contact directly in the coming days.

Netanyahu thanked Biden “for his tireless efforts, and those of his team, to help broker this deal,” the readout says, adding that the president “assured the Prime Minister that he will continue working to secure the release of all remaining hostages.”

Biden also spoke to Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar on Wednesday to express his appreciation for Qatar’s role in the hostage talks, as host to Hamas’s political leadership in Doha.

They too agreed to remain in close contact “to ensure the deal is fully implemented and to ultimately secure the release of all hostages.”

They also agreed to “continue close consultation on setting the conditions for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East, to include the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

In a separate call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi Biden thanks Cairo for its efforts in bringing the deal about.

The pair discussed surging humanitarian aid into Gaza during the truce.

Biden also reiterated “that under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, or the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza.”

These talking points have been used repeatedly by US official in recent weeks but this appears to be the most forceful version of them and comes days after an Israeli minister, Gila Gamliel, penned an op-ed calling on the international community to advance “voluntary resettlement” of Gazans.

Biden also “affirmed his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state and recognized Egypt’s essential role in setting the conditions for that outcome,” the US readout says.

Head of Hezbollah parliamentary bloc’s son killed in Israeli strike in south Lebanon — source

Hezbollah supporters hold flags and portraits of terror leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon  October 18, 2023. ( AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar)
Hezbollah supporters hold flags and portraits of terror leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2023. ( AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar)

The son of a senior Hezbollah lawmaker was killed Wednesday in an Israeli counterstrike in south Lebanon, a source close to the family tells AFP.

The son of Mohammed Raad, head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, “was killed with a number of other Hezbollah members,” in an Israeli strike on a house in Beit Yahun, the source says, requesting anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Top Netanyahu aide announces delay in hostage releases, which won’t start until Friday

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In a surprising delay, National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi announces that the first hostages will not be released until Friday.

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said earlier today that the deal would go into effect at 10 a.m. on Thursday and hours later, a senior Israeli official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity confirmed as much.

But in a statement in which he asserts that the talks are constantly progressing, Hanegbi says “The release will begin according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday.”

An Israeli official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity explains the delay, saying that contrary to what was previously understood in Jerusalem, both Israel and Hamas need to sign onto a document ratifying the agreement in order for it to enter into place.

The document will hopefully be signed within the next 24 hours, in time for the first hostages to be released on Friday, the Israeli official says.

Contrary to an earlier report in Channel 12, which claimed that Mossad chief David Barnea received a list of the first batch of hostages slated for release, the Israeli official says he does not believe one has been received yet either.

Barnea was in Doha today with Gen. Nitzan Alon, who has held the hostage file for the IDF. The two reportedly met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to discuss final details of the hostage deal.

Netanyahu: ‘I’ve told Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Answering more questions at tonight’s press conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has told the Mossad to target the heads of Hamas wherever they may be.

After a reporter mentions a (Hebrew) report asserting that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal have been saying they expect to continue ruling Gaza after the war, Netanyahu says that he has “instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are.”

Asked whether the truce applies to targeting Hamas chiefs — a presumed reference to those abroad — Netanyahu says there is “no such obligation.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant weighs in to say all Hamas leaders are walking dead. “They are living on borrowed time,” Gallant says of the terror chiefs. “The struggle is worldwide: From gunman in the field to those who are enjoying luxury jets while their emissaries are acting against women and children, they are destined to die.”

Netanyahu also says that Itamar Ben Gvir has the obligation to vote as he sees fit, but all ministers must accept collective responsibility once a decision is made. Ben Gvir and his Otzma Yehudit colleagues voted against the hostage deal last night.

Gallant says he hopes Israelis living more than four kilometers (nearly 2.5 miles) from the northern Gaza border will be able to return home, providing their homes are livable, at the end of December, if not before, since “the danger [in that area] is passing, given the IDF’s operations.”

Asked about missile attacks from Yemen, Netanyahu says “we are preparing to respond to all threats.”

Asked again about the danger of released Palestinian prisoners returning to terrorism, Netanyahu says Israel will go after them again if it has to.

But the question Israel faced regarding this hostage deal, he says, was “how could we pass up the possibility to bring home tens of children, mothers and women?”

He would be happier if there were no such releases of Palestinian security prisoners, but “there was no such possibility… The knife is at the throats of the children and women now, so we made a decision,” he says.

Netanyahu: We made no commitment to a truce on the northern border

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant and fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz take a long series of questions at their press conference.

Netanyahu says he is sure Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar will try “to buy extra time” to prevent Israel resuming its Gaza operations after the hostage deal and pause. “We are prepared for other developments too,” he says.

He says he told President Biden just now, “We are taking a pause,” as agreed to in a deal that Biden was part of and initiated, “but we are continuing afterward.”

Asked about previous hostage deals, the premier says, “The greatest threat to our existence” stems from the axis of evil led by Iran and that Iran getting a nuclear weapon would pose unimaginable dangers. He says he did many things to thwart that, “some of which are connected to the deal to release Gilad Shalit,” but he cannot elaborate further.

He says you “take a chance when you free evil people” and Israel “will do everything we can so that they won’t return” to harm people.” But if the deal works, “tens of kids and their mothers and women will come home — hopefully more than 50.”

Gantz reiterates his position that the release of the hostages is an “advance objective,” while the destruction of Hamas is vital “and will take a long time.”

He says “the management of the war and the fate of the hostages and the military operation are not a reality show,” and that the cabinet discussions are serious. “Lives are at stake.”

Netanyahu declines to detail what will happen if Hamas breaches the truce. “As President Biden said to me, an enemy that holds a 9-month-old baby hostage… we know with whom we are dealing.”

Gallant says Hamas “wanted a pause to get some air while we’re pounding it daily. That’s what brought the achievement” of the hostage deal.

Asked about Hezbollah saying it is joining the truce, Netanyahu says he does not know what Hezbollah is saying, but Israel has not undertaken any obligations regarding Hezbollah and the northern front during the truce. Hezbollah will be judged by its actions, he says.

He also says, in the context of Hamas breaching the truce, that “soldiers always are obligated to deal with any threat.”

“We want to get all the hostages back in this deal, and maybe [more] after that” but “we’re not giving them [Hamas] an open check. When the pause is done, we resume the war. It may be that we are forced to do so much earlier.”

If there is a breach, he says, ” we won’t stand there like sheep. We will do what we can so this framework will be honored, but if it is broken, we will know what to do.”

Netanyahu again says that “the Red Cross is part of the agreement” — as agreed by Israel “and the other side.”

“So I expect the Red Cross to act according to that clause” in the deal. “Hamas might not honor it, but it is unthinkable that the Red Cross won’t demand it… If the Red Cross didn’t know — it knows now.”

Gantz warns Iran IDF will respond to those orchestrating attacks on Israel: ‘South Lebanon can become north Gaza’

War cabinet minster Benny Gantz during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/ YouTube)
War cabinet minster Benny Gantz during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/ YouTube)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz uses the Tel Aviv press conference to threaten Hezbollah, which has already lost 79 fighters in the fighting along the northern border.

“What’s happening now in northern Gaza can also happen in southern Lebanon and Beirut,” Gantz says.

Addressing Iran, Gantz says, “We know how to [act toward those attacking] us, as well as to those who are sending them.”

“No harm to Israel’s sovereignty will go unanswered,” he declares.

Commenting on the hostage deal, Gantz says it was one of the hardest decisions he has made over 40 years of service defending Israel, and adds that additional difficult choices lie ahead.

Addressing Hamas’s leaders in Arabic, Gantz says, “We are a long-suffering and patient people.”

Israelis managed to build a state and an army after surviving the Holocaust and “we don’t think in days, but in eternity.”

Gantz acknowledges that there are those who disagreed with the hostage deal and insists that he respects those voices and is determined to keep Israeli society united in the war against Hamas.

Gallant says Hamas ‘only understands force’; glosses over PM’s third stated goal regarding post-war Gaza

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/ YouTube)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/ YouTube)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says he insisted on an additional clause being included in the cabinet decision approved yesterday regarding the hostage deal, which states that once the multi-day truce ended, the IDF will continue its missions of eradicating Hamas and securing the release of all hostages.

He again leaves out the third mission, which only Netanyahu has stressed in recent weeks — that Gaza will not return to being a threat to Israel after the war — in what appears to be a gap between the premier and other war cabinet members.

Whereas Netanyahu has used the third goal for the war to all but reject proposals for the Palestinian Authority to return to Gaza, Gallant and Benny Gantz have only focused on the other two goals of the war — destroying Hamas and returning the hostages. Gantz and Gallant have also promoted steps to boost the PA.

Last week, Gantz said that returning the hostages was the more urgent mission in the short term, whereas Netanyahu has argued that the two missions are on equal footing.

“Hamas only understands force,” Gallant says, calling the terror group “barbarians,” who would only improve the terms of the hostage deal if the military pressure against them increased.

Gallant says he is now feeling a combination of pain and happiness, as he thinks about the 50 hostages slated to be reunited with their families, along with the remaining ones, who will likely have to remain in Gaza for the time being.

Hamas terrorists on October 7 thought they would “tear Israel apart” and “plant the Hamas flag in the center of the Negev.” They thought Israel would “lose its will to exist and to fight. They were wrong. The result will be the tearing apart of Hamas,” Gallant says.

He says the entire security establishment is bound by the obligation to secure the return of all the hostages.

Netanyahu: Combination of military, diplomatic pressure by Israel led to better hostage deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the combination of military and diplomatic pressure applied by Israel is what led to improved terms in the hostage deal slated to be implemented tomorrow morning.

Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu says he just got off the phone with US President Joe Biden whom he thanked for answering his requests to pressure Qatar to improve the terms of the deal.

A senior Israeli official briefing reporters earlier said that US President Joe Biden sent CIA chief William Burns to Qatar in order to quash a Hamas demand to designate all Israeli women under 50 as soldiers, and instead to use that classification only for the five women soldiers on active duty who are held by the terror group.

Netanyahu says the dual diplomatic and military pressure will continue after the multi-day truce and will improve terms for future deals until all of the hostages are returned home, including fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul as well as civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed who have been held by Hamas for almost a decade as well.

Netanyahu highlights the inclusion of a clause in the deal that will allow the Red Cross to visit the hostages who will not be released.

He notes claims from the Red Cross that it has not been informed of this clause and proceeds to read it aloud in Hebrew. The document he appears to be reading from has not been published, though, and no other party to the negotiations is familiar with Netanyahu’s claim.

Netanyahu: We have responsibility to rescue hostages, they have ‘knife at their throats’; it can’t always be done via military op

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the hostages in Gaza have had a “knife to their throats” and that it is Israel’s responsibility to rescue them.

Netanyahu in a press conference notes that doing so is the fulfillment of the religious commandment to redeem hostages.

He says this has been done throughout Jewish history through military operations, but that sometimes those are not possible.

The premier describes returning the hostages as a “holy mission.”

Netanyahu stresses that the security establishment unanimously supported the deal to secure the release of 50 hostages, explaining that it will not harm the military objectives, rather it will even advance them.

The army will use the multi-day truce to prepare for the resumption of the war, Netanyahu says. “All of our forces will be protected during the pause
and intelligence collection will continue,” he says.

“The war continues. We will continue until we complete all of our goals,” Netanyahu says, listing those goals again as removing Hamas, returning all of the hostages, and ensuring that whatever comes next in Gaza will not pose a threat to Israel.

He reiterates that he will not allow an authority that incites against Israel to return to Gaza, referring to the Palestinian Authority. This repeated assertion has infuriated the US, as Netanyahu has refused to offer any alternatives for who will govern Gaza and the rejection of the PA has turned off several Arab governments from contributing to day-after planning.

Netanyahu says the IDF “will restore security both in the south and in the north.”

He also recognizes that “the victory has a huge price,” referring to the 70 soldiers who have fallen fighting in Gaza over the past month.

Netanyahu says he has met with bereaved parents who told him that they want the IDF to “continue until the end, until victory” and vows that that is what the army will do.

In latest call, Netanyahu thanks Biden for efforts to secure release of hostages

President Joe Biden is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, October 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci), File
President Joe Biden is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, October 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci), File

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wrapping up a phone call with US President Joe Biden, during which he thanked the president for his efforts to bring about the deal slated to be implemented in the coming hours, which will see the release of at least 50 Israeli hostages from Gaza, an Israeli official says.

Biden is also holding phone calls with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to confirm that all details have been taken care of regarding the hostage deal.

Israel reportedly receives names of hostages slated to be released tomorrow

Families of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv calling for their release, on November 21, 2023, during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Families of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv calling for their release, on November 21, 2023, during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Israel has received the list of names of the hostages who are slated to be released tomorrow during the first day of the truce reached with Hamas, Channel 12 reports.

Israel will not be publishing the names ahead of their release to avoid any false hope among the families if the deal falls through.

The list was given to Mossad chief David Barnea and IDF General Nitzan Alon, who are currently in Qatar, solidifying the final details of the agreement.

IDF spokesperson warns public against spreading rumors, as army readies for hostage release

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a press conference on November 11, 2023. (Screenshot)
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a press conference on November 11, 2023. (Screenshot)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military is readying for the release of the Hamas-held hostages, while vowing that it will continue the fighting against the terror group after the temporary ceasefire ends.

“The IDF, with all the relevant bodies, is carrying out an orderly procedure ahead of the release of the hostages,” Hagari says.

“We have a duty to do everything to return the hostages, the elderly and women, the men and the children. This is a complex process that may take time and a number of stages,” he says.

Hagari says there may be attempts by Hamas to use “psychological terror” against the Israeli public. “Please prevent circulating rumors, and unsubstantiated reports. We are talking about lives here,” he says.

“We have before us a long fight, and we are determined to carry out the goals of the war… dismantling Hamas’s abilities and creating conditions for the release of the hostages,” Hagari says.

Answering a question, Hagari says that if and when the pause in fighting is announced, “We will know how to carry out an operational halt.” He stresses that “the return of the hostages is a supreme goal [of this operation].”

Red Cross says it hasn’t been told staff will be visiting hostages as Netanyahu claimed

Israelis protest outside the Red Cross headquarters in Tel Aviv, demanding that the Red Cross insist on access to the approximately 240 hostages being held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, November 9, 2023. (Ronen Topelberg)
Israelis protest outside the Red Cross headquarters in Tel Aviv, demanding that the Red Cross insist on access to the approximately 240 hostages being held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, November 9, 2023. (Ronen Topelberg)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office claimed yesterday that Israel had successfully negotiated the inclusion of a clause in the hostage deal for the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit all of the Gaza hostages who remain in the Strip after the deal.

But the Red Cross issues a statement saying it has not been updated about such plans, which directly involve its staff.

“Since October 7, 2023, the ICRC has continuously asked for the release of all hostages held in Gaza and their humane treatment. We haven’t stopped doing so and will continue as long as it takes.

“Thus far, the ICRC has not been made aware of any agreement reached by both parties related to visits by the ICRC to the hostages. Should visits be agreed upon, the ICRC stands ready to visit. The ICRC does not take part in the negotiations between the parties to the conflict.”

US envoy raises rape of women on Oct. 7 during Security Council meeting: ‘Where is the outrage?’

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses members of the UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters, on October 30, 2023. (AP Photo/ Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses members of the UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters, on October 30, 2023. (AP Photo/ Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield raps fellow UN Security Council members for minimizing or ignoring the crimes committed by Hamas on October 7.

“It has been less than two months since Hamas carried out its barbaric terrorist attack against Israel, but many members of this council seem to have forgotten or attempted to erase the horrors of that day. And many still cannot bring themselves to unequivocally condemn Hamas’s acts of terror,” Thomas-Greenfield says.

“The children who were executed in front of their parents. The families who were burned alive. The young people who were gunned down with glee. We have also seen horrifying footage that points to Hamas’ rape and sexual assault of innocent civilians. Where is the universal condemnation? And where is the outrage?” Thomas-Greenfield asks during a Security Council session focused on the plight of women in the Israel-Hamas war.

“This moment is a test of our capacity to empathize with the suffering of all. We must continue to hold space in our hearts for the victims of the October 7th attack. For those in Israel whose homes are targets of Hamas’ rockets. For the hostages in Gaza who were pried from their families,” she says.

“But let’s be clear: We must also – we must also – have the same compassion for the innocent Palestinian civilians, who have been killed and injured during this conflict. The innocent civilians, mostly children, under the rubble, and for the people in Gaza who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance – water, food, shelter, and other essentials. For the young girls who are no longer able to attend school, and the elderly who have fallen ill from a lack of adequate nutrition, and for those with disabilities who are unable to move,” the envoy adds.

TV report: Mothers and their children will be released together as hostage deal plays out

Understandings surrounding the release of hostages set for the coming days include the provision that mothers and their children will be released together, Channel 12 reports.

The complex sequence of events relating to the releases will play out between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day for the next four days from tomorrow, it says.

When each day’s group of hostages are handed over to the Red Cross at an as-yet undisclosed Gaza border crossing, an IDF officer will be on hand to identify each freed hostage.

Only after this process will Israel release its group of Palestinian security prisoners in return — with three Palestinian prisoners to be freed for each Israeli hostage.

The Israeli hostages will have an initial medical check at the border, and will then be transferred to hospitals inside Israel, where they will be reunited with their families

Hamas has acknowledged knowing the whereabouts of 30 of the approximately 40 children held hostage in Gaza, and they are set to be the main component in the 50 hostages to be released in the next four days. But Israel believes that the US, Qatar, and Egypt can help facilitate the subsequent release of more of the children in the near future, Channel 12 says.

The IDF will only halt its campaign in Gaza when the Red Cross confirms that the first group of hostages is in its hands, the report further says.

IDF exposes further parts of Hamas’s tunnel network under Shifa Hospital

An IDF graphic from November 23, 2023, depicting Hamas's use of Shifa Hospital. (IDF)
An IDF graphic from November 23, 2023, depicting Hamas's use of Shifa Hospital. (IDF)

The Israel Defense Forces exposes further parts of Hamas’s tunnel network under Shifa Hospital, publishing videos of additional entrances and underground hideout rooms.

The IDF says the tunnel goes under the so-called Qatari building at Shifa. It includes “war rooms” and hideouts, according to the IDF.

The tunnel entrance found in Shifa last week ended at a blast door after around 55 meters (180 feet) of tunnel. Past the door, which was breached yesterday, the IDF says it found an air-conditioned room, a hideout, toilets, and a kitchen.

It says another two tunnel shafts were found near the hospital, one in a street and another in a building used as a classroom around 100 meters (328 feet) away.

IDF troops also unearthed “many weapons,” as well as findings that indicate Hamas-held hostages were previously at Shifa, the military says.

“The findings unequivocally display Hamas’ deliberate method of operating underneath hospitals. The terrorist organization also exploits the hospital buildings, using them to store weapons in, and as terrorist headquarters,” the IDF says in a statement.

Reporters from numerous outlets were also given a tour of the tunnel by IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

Hamas says Gaza death toll has climbed to 14,532; 35,000 wounded, 7,000 missing

Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from the Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)
Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from the Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)

Hamas’s public diplomacy office has updated its death toll from the war to 14,532.

These numbers have not been independently verified and are believed to include Palestinian civilians killed by errant rockets launched by terror groups as well as Palestinian terrorists killed by Israel.

The terror group’s office says 35,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the 47 days of fighting and that 7,000 Palestinians are missing, possibly due to the rubble.

White House: We won’t rest until all hostages are back with their families

President Joe Biden arrives at the Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, November 17, 2023. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Joe Biden arrives at the Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, November 17, 2023. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Today, we wake up to good news,” says National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, in a short video updating the American public on the recently reached hostage deal.

“Thanks to President Biden’s personal leadership and involvement, a deal now has been struck between Israel and Hamas to release more than 50 hostages that Hamas has been holding — all women and children.”

“In the next day or so, we’ll start to see them be reunited with their families.

“This deal will also allow for a pause in the fighting for something like four days, maybe longer, we’ll see; and also a much needed surge of humanitarian assistance — food, water, medicine, and fuel to the people of Gaza, who so desperately need it.

“We’re going to keep supporting Israel to make sure they’ve got the tools and capabilities they need to go after Hamas. We’re going to continue to work on increasing and accelerating humanitarian assistance that’s going into Gaza.

“We’re not going to rest until we can get all of the hostages back with the families where they belong. So there’s a lot more work to do, but it’s a good day today,” Kirby says.

Official: Israel will carefully weigh responses to truce violations, knowing Hamas not in total control of Gaza

IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 18, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 18, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel fears that Hamas may violate the agreed halt in fighting, and fire on soldiers in areas of northern Gaza controlled by the IDF, says a senior Israeli official briefing reporters.

Were soldiers to come under fire, they would be permitted to return fire, says the official, but Israel will attempt not to initiate military action.

The senior official says that Hamas has weak control in northern Gaza and may not be able to exert authority over all terrorists in that area.

Therefore, Israel will carefully weigh how to respond to any violations of the pause in hostilities on a case-by-case basis, mindful of the ongoing imperative to ensure that the release of hostages proceeds. Soldiers will confront any direct threat, while making the effort not to take actions that could be interpreted as breaching the agreement.

Israel intends to use the pause in fighting to plan for the war’s next steps, including to ensure as many hostages as possible are brought home, the official says.

IDF jets again counterstrike against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon

IDF fighter jets carry out a series of strikes against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to the repeated attacks on northern Israel, on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
IDF fighter jets carry out a series of strikes against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to the repeated attacks on northern Israel, on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The IDF says its fighter jets carried out another series of strikes against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, in response to the repeated attacks on northern Israel.

Separately, tanks and aircraft targeted a Hezbollah cell that has fired at Israel near the northern community of Hanita, and a structure used to fire at troops in the Mattat area.

Several rockets were also fired from Lebanon at northern Israel a short while. The IDF says it is responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

US squeezed Qatar to scrap Hamas demand that female hostages under 50 be designated soldiers — official

US President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with the Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the Oval Office of the White House, January 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Alex Brandon/ File)
US President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with the Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the Oval Office of the White House, January 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Alex Brandon/ File)

The US exerted significant pressure over Qatar to sweeten Israel’s hostage release deal terms, says a senior Israeli official briefing reporters.

US President Joe Biden sent CIA chief William Burns to Qatar in order to quash a Hamas demand to designate all Israeli women under 50 as soldiers, and instead to use that classification only for the five women soldiers on active duty who are held by the terror group, the official says.

Additionally, the requirement for the International Red Cross to visit all remaining hostages is a binding element of the deal, the official says, and the US, Egypt, and Qatar will apply pressure to ensure it is honored.

The entire deal, the official adds, is not formalized on a signed document, but rather was ratified by mutual announcement — by Israel to the US, and Hamas to Qatar. Hamas reportedly also made assurances to Egypt.

While the deal makes provisions for the return of up to 80 hostages, that would leave at some 160 hostages remaining in Gaza after its terms are completed.

Total hostage numbers are not final because Israel believes eight people are still missing nearly seven weeks after Hamas rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, including two foreign nationals and six Israeli citizens.

Israel won’t notify hostages’ families until their relatives are out of Gaza to prevent false hope — official

Alexandra Ariev, center, speaks during a press conference at the Italian Jewish Center in Rome, November 22, 2023, with other representatives of the families of the Israelis abducted by Hamas on October 7 and believed to be held hostage by terrorists in Gaza, shortly after they met with Pope Francis at The Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Alexandra Ariev, center, speaks during a press conference at the Italian Jewish Center in Rome, November 22, 2023, with other representatives of the families of the Israelis abducted by Hamas on October 7 and believed to be held hostage by terrorists in Gaza, shortly after they met with Pope Francis at The Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The first group of hostages, slated to be released tomorrow, will be transferred to the International Red Cross and possibly to other unspecified parties. They will be transferred via one of Gaza’s international border crossings, says a senior Israeli official briefing reporters

Upon receiving proof that the hostages released are the Israeli citizens specifically agreed upon, Israel will release its agreed group of Palestinian prisoners.

Given concerns that Hamas may not release the specific hostages it promises to release, Israel has decided not to inform the relevant families that their loved ones are expected tomorrow, the senior official says.

After being received on the Israeli side, the then-former hostages will be immediately flown to hospitals, the official says.

Israeli official: Hamas release of hostages to start at 10 a.m. tomorrow; ultimately up to 80 may be freed in this deal

Families of the Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza attend a rally calling for the children to be released outside the UNICEF headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 20, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Families of the Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza attend a rally calling for the children to be released outside the UNICEF headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 20, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

The release of some 50 Israeli hostages — children, mothers, and other women — held by Hamas will begin tomorrow at 10 a.m., says a senior Israeli official briefing reporters.

Israel still does not have the list of hostages to be freed tomorrow, the official says, but expects to receive those names this evening.

(A US official told reporters yesterday that Hamas did produce a list with identifying information on the 50 women and children it plans to release.)

The Israeli official confirms that hostages are supposed to be released in 12-13 person batches, and that Hamas has committed to release 50 hostages in the next four days.

The Israeli official says that Israel believes that Hamas’s main interest in negotiations was to maximize the duration of the pause in hostilities, and that fuel and humanitarian aid are not Hamas’s central concern.

Hamas wanted a month-long halt in the fighting, but reduced its demand to four days, the official says.

Families of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza hold a press conference in Tel Aviv, November 19, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Nonetheless, the official adds, extending the pause beyond four days remains a central goal of Hamas.

Since Hamas would like to extend the pause by a few more days, there is a chance that a total of 80 kidnapped children and women directly held by the terror group will be released under the provisions of the deal, the official says. Israel has said it would extend the pause by an extra day for each additional 10 Israeli hostages freed.

Regarding the daily number of releases, the senior official notes that Hamas is bound by the agreement to release 50 hostages within four days, with no fewer than 10 hostages per truce day. Thus, if Hamas hands over only 10 hostages per day in the first three days, Hamas would have to make up numbers to reach a total of 50 by the fourth day.

According to Israeli estimates, Hamas holds a total of 98 women and children, 40 of whom are children under the age of 19. At first, Hamas had 100 living women and children, but after the murder of Yehudit Weiss and Noa Marciano that number dropped to 98.

In addition, among the 98 civilian women and children, there are five female soldiers in active service who are not included in the deal.

The source also says that beyond the potential maximum of 80 women and children that might be released in the coming days, Hamas has to “collect” women and children from elsewhere in the Strip to potentially be released in subsequent exchanges. This is why Israel agreed to not gather overhead drone intelligence for six hours every day during the truce, enabling Hamas and its operatives to gather women and children hostages from different locations across the Strip.

High Court rejects petition against hostage deal, paving way for its implementation tomorrow

The High Court of Justice hears petitions against the government's incapacitation law, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
The High Court of Justice hears petitions against the government's incapacitation law, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The High Court of Justice rejects the petition filed by the Almagor organization against the deal to bring back some of the Israeli hostages from  Gaza, and says the government has the authority to make such agreements.

The decision paves the way for the exchange deal, in which Israel will release 150 Palestinian security prisoners in return for 50 Israeli hostages, to go ahead.

Justice Alex Stein rejects Almagor’s arguments that the deal violates the right to equality of hostages being left behind, saying that it is a moral responsibility to bring home captives, citing the medieval rabbinical scholar Maimonides.

“This difficult matter is entirely in the realm of considerations of war and peace, and foreign policy, which are in the hands of the government. This is a clear-cut issue of policy which the court cannot address, something we have emphasized repeatedly in a number of rulings,” writes Stein.

IDF raids Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, capturing Hamas outpost, offices of intel division

The IDF strikes a building in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
The IDF strikes a building in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Troops of the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade raided Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, capturing a Hamas outpost and the offices of the terror group’s intelligence division, the military says.

It says the forces seized “intelligence materials, technical [equipment] and significant information about Hamas’s underground infrastructure” during the raids.

The Hamas intelligence division’s offices were later destroyed.

During the raid on Hamas’s outpost, the troops killed several terror operatives, and found a drone manufacturing workshop, mortars, and other weapons.

FM Cohen again warns that Hezbollah’s daily attacks could lead to all-out war in Lebanon

File: Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and terrorists from the Hezbollah organization on the border between Israel and Lebanon, November 18, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
File: Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and terrorists from the Hezbollah organization on the border between Israel and Lebanon, November 18, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

For the second day running, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen warns that ongoing attacks by the Hezbollah terrorist group against Israel could lead to all-out war in Lebanon.

“The attacks by Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy, could lead to war in Lebanon,” Cohen says in a briefing to the media.

“Israel has no interest in opening another front but we cannot continue to tolerate such attacks. The responsibility of the international community is to fully implement Resolution 1701 in order to prevent a war in Lebanon,” he continues.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006, called for the disarmament of all Lebanese militias — a reference to Hezbollah — and for southern Lebanon to be freed of all paramilitary groups, but was never implemented.

On Tuesday, Cohen wrote to the UN Security Council warning that a regional war could break out due to Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on Israeli civilians and the IDF, and called on the body to implement Resolution 1701 to avoid such a scenario.

IDF announces death of Staff Sgt. Eitan Rosenzweig, raising Gaza op death toll to 70

Staff Sgt. Eitan Dov Rosenzweig (Courtesy)
Staff Sgt. Eitan Dov Rosenzweig (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces announces the death of a soldier during fighting in the northern Gaza Strip today, bringing the death toll in the ground offensive against Hamas to 70.

He is named as Staff Sgt. Eitan Dov Rosenzweig, 21, of the Givati Brigade’s Shaked Battalion, from Alot Shvut.

The IDF also says a reservist of the Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504 and a soldier of the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit were seriously hurt in separate clashes in northern Gaza.

Rosenzweig is the third member of his class at the Neve Shmuel yeshiva high school to have been killed fighting in Gaza.

US envoy: Gazans who fled to south must be allowed to return to their homes ‘as soon as possible’

Palestinians arrive in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 11, 2023, after fleeing their homes in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Palestinians arrive in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 11, 2023, after fleeing their homes in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

The Biden administration’s envoy for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, David Satterfield, says Palestinians from northern Gaza who fled to the south upon directive from the IDF “must be allowed to return to homes in the north as soon as possible.”

Yesterday, a senior Israeli official briefing reporters on the recently inked hostage deal stressed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had blocked the inclusion of a clause that would have allowed for Palestinians who evacuated to the south to return to the north where the IDF still plans to continue operating after the ceasefire of several days expires.

It is also not clear what those Palestinians from northern Gaza will be able to return to, as most of the area has been decimated in the ongoing fighting.

In an interview with the Lebanese broadcaster al-Jadeed, Satterfield reiterates the US position against the displacement of Palestinians, which also flies in the face of a growing number of recent proposals from right-wing and even centrist Israeli lawmakers calling for countries around the world to take in Gazans and promote their voluntary resettlement.

Satterfield clarifies that the US “wants to see Israel succeed in its campaign,” and warns the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon against continued missile fire at Israel if it wanted to avoid an escalation.

3-year-old whose parents were murdered on Oct. 7 among hostages slated for release — US official

Avigail Idan (left) 3, here with her father Roee and brother Michael, was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Both of Avigail's parents were murdered in front of her before she was kidnapped.(Courtesy)
Avigail Idan (left) 3, here with her father Roee and brother Michael, was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Both of Avigail's parents were murdered in front of her before she was kidnapped.(Courtesy)

Among the roughly 50 hostages slated to be released tomorrow are three Americans, including 3-year-old Avigail Mor Idan — whose parents Roee and Smadar were murdered in front of her during the October 7 Hamas massacre, senior Biden administration official told reporters during a briefing yesterday.

Two other female dual US-Israeli nationals are among the others slated to be released, the official said.

There are currently 10 American citizens who are either being held hostage or are unaccounted for.

Mossad chief said traveling to Qatar to tie up hostage deal’s loose ends

Mossad director David Barnea speaks at a conference at Reichman University on September 10, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
Mossad director David Barnea speaks at a conference at Reichman University on September 10, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

Mossad chief David Barnea will reportedly fly to Doha today and meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to discuss final details of the hostage deal slated to go into place tomorrow morning.

The trip indicates that there are still loose ends that Israel wants to tie, even though the sides have formally approved the deal, the Walla news site reports.

Questions apparently remain regarding the mechanism through which the hostages will be released as well as the start of the ceasefire. Hamas has stated that it will start at 10 a.m., while Israel has yet to publicly state the same.

One Israeli official confirmed the 10 a.m. start time to CNN, but another tells Walla that it will only be finalized at Barnea’s meeting in Doha.

Barnea will be joined by Nitzan Alon, who has held the hostage file for the IDF.

Hezbollah said planning to participate in ceasefire even though it wasn’t part of deal

Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah fighter who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah fighter who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

AL Jazeera cites a source in Hezbollah who says that the Lebanese terror group will participate in the four-day ceasefire slated to begin tomorrow even though it was not part of the negotiations between Israel and Hamas.

The source states that Hezbollah will stop firing at Israel from southern Lebanon if Israel adheres to the ceasefire.

However, any violation of the ceasefire will be met with a fierce response, the source adds.

Hezbollah separately confirms the death of its 79th fighter killed since the war’s outbreak.

Israeli official confirms Thursday 10 a.m. ceasefire start to CNN

IDF soldiers operating in the northern Gaza Strip in a handout photo released for publication on November 22, 2023. (IDF)
IDF soldiers operating in the northern Gaza Strip in a handout photo released for publication on November 22, 2023. (IDF)

An Israeli official has confirmed tomorrow’s 10 a.m. ceasefire commencement to CNN.

Until now, only Hamas had confirmed the start time.

Israel has yet to make an official declaration.

IDF troops capture headquarters of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade

IDF troops find a tunnel shaft at the headquarters of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade on November 22, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops find a tunnel shaft at the headquarters of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade on November 22, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says the Givati Infantry Brigade has captured the headquarters of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade, in the Sheikh Za’id neighborhood, between Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya.

According to the IDF, several senior Hamas officials live in Sheikh Za’id, and the neighborhood also has a number of compounds belonging to the terror group, including its elite Nukhba forces.

The IDF says the Givati troops raided the compound, finding a number of tunnel shafts, including a “strategic” entrance that was some 50 meters deep and seven meters wide.

Also in the compound, the troops found a miniature IDF armored personnel carrier and a mockup of Israel’s Gaza border barrier, the military says. Nearby, troops also found a rocket production and launch site.

The IDF says troops killed several Hamas operatives as they captured the area. The compound was later destroyed.

In a separate raid in the same area, Givati forces found several weapons on a pickup truck that was likely used by Hamas in the October 7 attacks.

Authorities say they’ve identified body of Shani Gabay, 25, who had been presumed hostage

Shani Gabay. (Courtesy)
Shani Gabay. (Courtesy)

Nearly seven weeks after the massacre at the Supernova rave near Gaza on October 7, authorities say they have identified the body of Shani Gabay, a 25-year-old who had been missing since Hamas’s attack on Israel, and who had thus far been presumed a hostage.

Gabay, of Yokne’am, had been working at the party, and was last seen taking shelter at a police command post, after being shot in the leg. It is not known why it took so long to identify her body.

The recent law school graduate had called her mother at 6:40 a.m., telling her about the stream of rockets and asking what she should do, according to her older brother, Aviel Gabay.

She was in her car at the time, and her mother told her to pull over and find a secure place. She found a field shelter near Kibbutz Alumim and went there, not yet knowing at the time there were terrorists gunning down partygoers, in addition to the rockets.

Terrorists threw grenades into the shelter, according to Gabay’s two friends who stayed in the shelter and survived, each one losing a leg. Gabay was pulled out of the shelter and appeared to have returned to her car, where she was shot. She made her way to a paramedic who took her to the police command post.

Terrorists later attacked that post, and she was not heard from since.

IDF says it shot down cruise missile — apparently fired by Houthis — over Red Sea

An Arrow interceptor missile is launched at a target over the Red Sea in October 2023. (Defense Ministry)
An Arrow interceptor missile is launched at a target over the Red Sea in October 2023. (Defense Ministry)

The Israel Defense Forces says a fighter jet successfully shot down a cruise missile over the Red Sea, close to the southernmost city of Eilat.

The missile is believed to have been fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

The IDF says the missile did not enter Israeli airspace.

Drone infiltration alarm sounds in Eilat

A bus driver sits outside his empty vehicle in the deserted border crossing in Eilat, Israel into Egypt on October 31, 2023. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)
A bus driver sits outside his empty vehicle in the deserted border crossing in Eilat, Israel into Egypt on October 31, 2023. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

A suspected drone infiltration alarm is sounding in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.

The IDF is investigating the cause.

The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have fired several ballistic missiles and drones at the city in recent weeks, all of which were intercepted or missed their target. An Iran-backed group in Syria also launched drones at Eilat, hitting a school earlier this month.

Hamas operatives seen exiting tunnel, surrendering to IDF troops in Gaza City’s Shati camp

A short clip posted to social media on November 22, 2023, purports to show Hamas operatives exiting a tunnel and surrendering to Israeli troops in the area of Gaza City's Shati camp, amid the IDF's ground offensive. (screen capture/X)
A short clip posted to social media on November 22, 2023, purports to show Hamas operatives exiting a tunnel and surrendering to Israeli troops in the area of Gaza City's Shati camp, amid the IDF's ground offensive. (screen capture/X)

A short clip posted to social media today purports to show Hamas operatives exiting a tunnel and surrendering to Israeli troops in the area of Gaza City’s Shati camp, amid the IDF’s ground offensive.

It is unclear when the video was taken, with no further context surrounding the incident.

The Times of Israel was not immediately able to verify the clip’s authenticity.

Israel not confirming ceasefire start time

Despite Hamas and Egypt’s state-run Qahera TV saying the Israel-Hamas temporary truce will take effect at 10 a.m., there is no confirmation from Israel.

One Israeli official confirms the time to CNN. However, another senior official tells the Axios website that the timing will only be decided later in the evening.

The Prime Minister’s Office declines to comment.

 

IDF says rockets fired from Lebanon, shells source of fire

A shell explodes over Kfar Kila, a Lebanese border village with Israel, as it seen from Marjayoun town in south Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
A shell explodes over Kfar Kila, a Lebanese border village with Israel, as it seen from Marjayoun town in south Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The Israel Defense Forces says several rockets were fired from Lebanon at the northern communities of Netu’a, Zar’it and Yiftah in the last hour, setting off sirens.

All the projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries, it says.

The IDF says it is responding with artillery shelling toward the sources of the fire, and tanks also shelled a Hezbollah observation post in southern Lebanon.

Terror victims group petitions court against hostage deal with Hamas

The Almagor Terror Victims Association files a petition to the High Court of Justice against the hostage deal between Israel and Hamas according to which the terror group will release 50 Israeli hostages in return for 150 Palestinian security prisoners.

It requests a delay in the implementation of the deal, claiming it violates the terms of the Shamgar Commission report partially published in 2012 on prisoner swaps, which stipulates that only a small number of prisoners held by Israel can be released per Israeli captive being returned.

Almagor also cites the High Court ruling on petitions against the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, which although it declined to stop the deal said that the most serious objections to it were that the prisoners being released would endanger the security of Israeli civilians in the future.

The organization requests that the court order the government to demonstrate that the current deal does not endanger the lives of Israeli civilians and those of IDF soldiers held captive by Hamas.

It also asks the court to rule that the government “does not have the right to discriminate between blood and blood,” meaning that it does not have the authority to determine that one captive will be released and another captive “will remain in the hands of murderers which are dripping with blood.”

It is widely expected that the petition will be rejected by the High Court, as it has rejected all such petitions in the past, on the grounds that its purview does not extend to matters of security and diplomacy apart from extreme situations.

Syrian state media says Israeli strike caused ‘material losses’ near Damascus

Syria’s state-run SANA broadcaster, citing a military source, says Israeli Air Force warplanes fired two missiles from over the Golan Heights at a site near the capital Damascus.

It claims Syrian air defenses downed one of the missiles, while the second caused “material losses.”

The report says there are no injuries in the alleged strike.

Syrian media reports Israeli airstrikes near Damascus

Syrian media report explosions heard and air defenses being used over the capital Damascus, apparently amid an alleged Israeli airstrike.

The pro-government Sham FM radio says air defenses are engaging “hostile targets” over the area, a euphemism for Israeli Air Force fighter jets and missiles.

There is no immediate information on possible casualties or damage in the alleged strikes.

UN welcomes Israel-Hamas deal as ‘important step’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during a Security Council open debate on the maintenance of international peace and security at the UN headquarters in New York on November 20, 2023. (Yuki IWAMURA / AFP)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during a Security Council open debate on the maintenance of international peace and security at the UN headquarters in New York on November 20, 2023. (Yuki IWAMURA / AFP)

The United Nations on Wednesday welcomed the deal between Israel and Hamas to free hostages and pause the fighting and bombardment in Gaza, but said it was just the beginning.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “welcomes the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas, with the mediation of Qatar supported by Egypt and the United States. This is an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

After 6 months, driver charged with leaving the scene in hit-and-run killing of boy, 4

A woman holds up a photo of 4-year-old Rafael Adana, during a protest in Tel Aviv on August 30, 2023, calling for justice after he was killed in a hit-and-run in Netanya in May. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
A woman holds up a photo of 4-year-old Rafael Adana, during a protest in Tel Aviv on August 30, 2023, calling for justice after he was killed in a hit-and-run in Netanya in May. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Prosecutors file a charge of leaving the scene of an accident in the case of a hit-and-run-killing of a four-year-old boy from the Ethiopian community in a case that has roiled the country.

Rafael Adana was hit by a car while walking with his grandfather in Netanya on Shabbat on May 6. He was critically wounded and died in a hospital several days later.

The driver, 70-year-old Carol Fessler, fled the scene, later claiming she “didn’t feel” the vehicle striking anything. She turned herself in to the police several hours later and provided testimony about the car collision.

After hearing news of the charges filed, family members expressed outrage that she had avoided more serious charges of manslaughter.

“We are very sorry that the prosecutors have taken such a lenient approach with the person who killed our son,” the family says in a statement.

The case has already sparked widespread outrage and several violent protests by the Ethiopian community who have accused police and prosecutors of racism and said they were dragging their feet.

Maldives mulling travel ban on Israelis amid Gaza war

Illustrative: Tourists sunbathe in Paradise island resort in Male atoll, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012.  (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Illustrative: Tourists sunbathe in Paradise island resort in Male atoll, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)

A lawmaker in the Indian Ocean nation of Maldives has submitted a bill to parliament that would bar Israeli tourists from the popular vacation destination.

According to local media, MP Mohamed Nasheed Abdulla submitted the bill, calling on the Maldives to align its policies with other members of the Organization for Islamic Corporation.

It was not immediately clear when the parliament would vote on the proposal.

Israel does not have diplomatic ties with the Muslim-majority nation, but Israelis have been allowed to visit the country famed for its island atolls.

As part of a broader travel warning issued in the wake of the war, Israel cautioned its citizens from visiting the Maldives along with other Muslim nations.

Toll of pro-Iran fighters killed in US strikes in Iraq rises to 8

Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah fighter who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah fighter who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

At least eight pro-Iranian fighters in Iraq were killed in US strikes today targeting groups that Washington accuses of attacking its troops, according to a new toll from the Iraqi group.

The US bombardment “left eight martyrs” and “will not go unpunished,” the Hezbollah Brigades, a pro-Iran group within Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) force, says in a statement.

‘This is my son. No arm — it’s been 47 days’: Mother shows pope picture of her hostage son

Rachel Goldberg, whose son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, had his arm blown off and was then taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7 at the Supernova desert rave, shows footage of the attack to Pope Francis, during a meeting he held with families of the hostages in the Vatican this morning.

“This is my son,” says Goldberg, holding up her cellphone to the pope. “No arm — it’s been 47 days.”

Israeli forces demolish structures at illegal West Bank Israeli outpost

Illustrative: Members of the Israeli security forces remove a caravan that settlers had brought to the former outpost of Amona on January 3, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Illustrative: Members of the Israeli security forces remove a caravan that settlers had brought to the former outpost of Amona on January 3, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Police and personnel from the Civil Administration department of the Defense Ministry demolish several structures at a small, illegal West Bank Israeli outpost on the site of the former Amona settlement which was evacuated in 2017.

According to settler activists, one of the homes demolished belonged to one of the former residents of Amona who established the new outpost a year ago.

And they claim that another of the homes was the residence of an IDF soldier currently fighting in Gaza, although they did not give his name.

The activists said the police confiscated the phones of the outpost’s residents and prevented them from videoing the evacuation.

The Civil Administration notes that the outpost was located very close to Area B of the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority exercises civilian control.

Hamas says temporary truce will begin tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Israelis protest calling for the release of hostages held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside Hakirya base in Tel Aviv, November 21, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Israelis protest calling for the release of hostages held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside Hakirya base in Tel Aviv, November 21, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk says in an interview with Al Jazeera that the temporary truce between the terror group and Israel will enter into force tomorrow at 10 a.m.

The announcement comes after Israel has reached an agreement with Hamas for a four-day halt in fighting and the release of at least 50 of the approximately 240 hostages Hamas abducted on October 7, in exchange for the release of 150 underage and female Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli prisons.

The agreement was approved by the Israeli cabinet overnight.

Abu Marzouk says that most of the hostages slated to be released have foreign citizenship, without specifying if they also hold Israeli passports, according to Channel 12. Israel has said that all the hostages will be Israeli citizens or residents.

There is no immediate confirmation from Israel.

Red Crescent says it has begun evacuation of remaining patients in Shifa hospital

Palestinians seen at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, November 10, 2023. (Flash90)
Palestinians seen at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, November 10, 2023. (Flash90)

The evacuation of the remaining patients in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has begun, the Palestinian Red Crescent says.

The rescue service says 14 ambulances arrived at the hospital today, and the evacuation has been coordinated with the United Nations and Doctors without Borders medical group.

Israel has been urging the evacuation of the hospital for weeks and coordinating the process since its troops took control of the medical center where it says Hamas had a command center and had been using as a base for its military operations.

Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson for Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, has said there were over 250 patients at the facility. Some 400 displaced people are also still sheltering in the facility.

Over the weekend, Israel and the World Health Organization coordinated the evacuation of 31 premature babies from Shifa Hospital to southern Gaza. Of them, 28 babies were later transferred to Egypt.

After meeting Israeli, Palestinian families, pope calls for peace, end to ‘terrorism’

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis meets separately with Israeli and Palestinian delegations and begged for peace and an end to what he called terrorism and “passions that are killing everyone.”

In encounters arranged before the Israeli-Hamas hostage deal was announced, Francis meets with relatives of hostages held in Gaza following Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault in southern Israel. He also meets separately with a delegation of Palestinians with relatives who are prisoners in Israel.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis says he heard from both how much they are suffering and the toll that the war was taking. In the audience were people holding Palestinian flags and scarves as well as small posters showing apparent bodies in a ditch and the word “Genocide” written underneath.

Francis said: “Here we’ve gone beyond war. This isn’t war, this is terrorism. Please, let us go forward for peace. Pray for peace, pray a lot for peace.”

He also asked for God to help both Israeli and Palestinian people “resolve problems and not go forward with passions that are killing everyone in the end.”

Francis has spoken out repeatedly for an end to the war.

IDF says it has destroyed some 400 tunnel shafts in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have uncovered and destroyed some 400 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive last month.

Troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit have played a significant role in demolishing the Hamas tunnels.

The tunnel entrances have been found deep within civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and other sites.

The IDF has accused Hamas of using the Palestinian population in Gaza as human shields by deliberately placing its infrastructure within the civilian environment.

IDF urges Jabaliya, Shejaiya residents to flee south, announces tactical pause in Khan Younis

The IDF urges civilians in the city of Jabaliya and the  Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, both in the north of the Strip, to move south during the daily humanitarian corridor that is open until 4 p.m. today.

The military has been pushing further and further into the Hamas stronghold of Jabaliya and is likely to enter Shejaiya next.

The army also announces that today’s tactical pause will be in the Jourat al-Lot and Batn al-Sameen neighborhoods of Khan Younis.

Kremlin says Israel-Hamas deal is ‘good news’

The Kremlin hails a truce deal between Israel and Hamas as “the first good news from Gaza in a very long time.”

“Russia and most countries in the world have been calling for a ceasefire and for a humanitarian pause. Because it is only on the basis of these kinds of pauses that some outlines of future attempts at a sustainable settlement can be built,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters.

Ben Gvir slams hostage deal, says it sets ‘dangerous precedent’

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, in the Knesset, Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, in the Knesset, Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a tweet this morning, Otzma Yehudit party chief Ben Gvir called the approved deal a “dangerous precedent” that repeats past mistakes — likely a reference to the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, in which over 1,000 terrorists were freed in return for one IDF soldier — and plays into the hands of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

The extreme-right politician contends that while it had some upsides, “we have a moral duty to bring everyone back, and we have no right or permission to agree to the idea of separating them and only bringing some back.”

He slammed the deal for not securing the release of all women and children held in Gaza, branding it “immoral, illogical and very far from enough” and saying it “could and should have been different.”

“Hamas wanted this truce more than anything,” he charges. “It also wanted to ‘get rid’ of the women and children in the first stage, because they caused international pressure on it. It wanted to get, in exchange, fuel, the release of terrorists, halting IDF actions and even a [reconnaissance] flight ban. It got all of those.”

He urged stepping up IDF military actions on Hamas, with the goal of pressuring Hamas to agree to a comprehensive hostage deal. He said his party ministers voted against the deal “not without contemplation,” saying that all options at the moment were “bad.”

IDF says warplanes are hitting Hezbollah targets in Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says its fighter jets carried out strikes against Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

The sites included a military compound where terror operatives were gathered, along with other infrastructure belonging to the terror group, it says.

The strikes come amid repeated attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions on northern Israel.

Palestinians say 6 killed in West Bank clashes with IDF after Tulkarem raid

Six Palestinians were killed during overnight clashes with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, the Palestinian Authority health ministry says.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the raid.

Tensions in the West Bank have been high since Hamas’s October 7 onslaught in southern Israel and subsequent fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says troops have arrested some 1,850 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,100 affiliated with Hamas, since the war began.

France hopeful its nationals will be among first group of released hostages

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna meets with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Paris on July 19, 2023. (Alan Azaria/Israeli Embassy in France)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna meets with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Paris on July 19, 2023. (Alan Azaria/Israeli Embassy in France)

France’s foreign minister says she’s hopeful that French nationals will be among the first hostages released as part of a truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

“We hope that French nationals are among them and even, if possible, among the first group that will be released,” the minister, Catherine Colonna, says this morning on France Inter radio. “We are working for that.”

France counts eight people missing, some of them confirmed as hostages, from the Oct. 7 assault on Israel. France also counts 40 citizens killed in the attack.

Agency drops Susan Sarandon for saying US Jews ‘getting taste of what it feels to be Muslim’

Susan Sarandon at the Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2018, in Toronto. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Susan Sarandon at the Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2018, in Toronto. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The Hollywood talent agency UTA has dropped actress Susan Sarandon as a client after she said at a recent pro-Palestinian rally that US Jews fearing for their safety amid a spike in antisemitism “are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”

A spokesperson for the agency confirms the decision to Deadline.

Sarandon has been intensely critical of Israel throughout the war, repeatedly posting accusations of genocide, atrocities and war crimes by Israel; sharing misinformation denying elements of Hamas’s massacres in Israeli communities; and characterizing Hamas as a “resistance organization” and not a terror group.

Sam Altman is back as OpenAI CEO just days after being removed

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman speaking at University College London as part of his world tour of speaking engagements in London, on May 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman speaking at University College London as part of his world tour of speaking engagements in London, on May 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Sam Altman, the ousted leader of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, is returning to the company that fired him late last week, culminating a days-long power struggle that shocked the tech industry and brought attention to the conflicts around how to safely build artificial intelligence.

San Francisco-based OpenAI says in a statement: “We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board.”

The board, which replaces the one that fired Altman on Friday, will be led by former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, who also chaired Twitter’s board before its takeover by Elon Musk last year. The other members will be former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo.

OpenAI’s previous board of directors, which included D’Angelo, had refused to give specific reasons for why it fired Altman, leading to a weekend of internal conflict at the company and growing outside pressure from the startup’s investors.

The chaos also accentuated the differences between Altman — who’s become the face of generative AI’s rapid commercialization since ChatGPT’s arrival a year ago — and members of the company’s board who have expressed deep reservations about the safety risks posed by AI as it gets more advanced.

PA welcomes hostage deal, temporary truce; calls for end of ‘Israeli aggression’

Secretary general of the Executive Committee of the PLO Hussein al-Sheikh at his office in Ramallah, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Secretary general of the Executive Committee of the PLO Hussein al-Sheikh at his office in Ramallah, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The Palestinian Authority welcomes a temporary humanitarian truce agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that will allow for the release of hostages, a senior Palestinian official says.

“President Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership welcome the humanitarian truce agreement, value the Qatari-Egyptian effort made and reaffirm the call for a comprehensive cessation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the entry of humanitarian aid,” senior official Hussein al-Sheikh writes on X, formerly Twitter.

Germany welcomes deal to release hostages, says nothing ‘can undo their suffering’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks at the German Bundestag in Berlin on October 11, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks at the German Bundestag in Berlin on October 11, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

Germany’s foreign minister welcomes a truce deal between Israel and Hamas allowing at least 50 hostages to be freed as a “breakthrough,” and urges that “vital aid” be sent to Gaza.

“The announced release of the first major group of hostages is a breakthrough — even if nothing in the world can undo their suffering,” said Annalena Baerbock on X, formerly Twitter.

“The humanitarian pause must be used to bring vital aid to people in Gaza.”

IDF says widescale fighting, clashes with Hamas still going on in Gaza

IDF troops operate inside Gaza during the ongoing ground offensive against Hamas, in a picture released November 22, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)
IDF troops operate inside Gaza during the ongoing ground offensive against Hamas, in a picture released November 22, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)

The Israel Defense Forces says it’s continuing to operate in the Gaza Strip, with ground forces clashing with Hamas operatives, and strikes being carried out against the terror group’s infrastructure.

The continued fighting comes as Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary truce to allow for the release of hostages. The truce has not yet gone into effect.

The IDF says the 7th Armored Brigade called in a number of airstrikes overnight, against Hamas sites from which gunfire was directed at troops.

Troops of the Givati Infantry Brigade, meanwhile, raided Sheikh Za’id, near Jabaliya, and destroyed a number of Hamas observation posts, the IDF says.
The IDF says the 14th Armored Reserve Brigade raided the Beit Hanoun area, locating a weapons cache inside a home.

Forces of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 202nd Battalion clashed with Hamas operatives in northern Gaza, killing several of them, it says.

The Harel Armored Reserve Brigade struck Hamas tunnel infrastructure in northern Gaza from which operatives opened fire at troops several days ago, according to the IDF.

The IDF says the 261st Reserve Brigade identified a building in northern Gaza with Hamas operatives and weapons inside, and destroyed it, killing those inside.

The Navy also carried out strikes against Hamas sites along the coast, including a residential building from which Hamas snipers opened fire at ground forces, the IDF says.

Cabinet decision on hostage deal published: Truce to be limited to 10 days from first release

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a meeting of the war cabinet in Tel Aviv on November 16, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a meeting of the war cabinet in Tel Aviv on November 16, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The government publishes the cabinet decision on the agreement to secure the release of roughly 50 hostages among the approximately 240 who were abducted into Gaza during Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

The decision lays out the framework for the deal approved by the government and includes three annexes: a recommendation from National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi; a classified document that was presented to the cabinet but not published, and a list of 300 Palestinian security prisoners eligible for release in the deal.

According to the decision, all 300 Palestinian prisoners will only be released on condition that 100 living hostages — Israeli citizens or Israeli residents — are freed from Gaza and returned to Israel.

The release will take place in two stages, with multiple phases in each stage.

In the first stage, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners once 50 hostages are returned to Israel. This will take place in four phases, with at least 10 hostages being released in each phase.

“The first part will last four days during which there will be a pause in the fighting,” the decision says.

In the second stage, Israel will release “up to” a further 150 Palestinian security prisoners if “up to” 50 additional hostages are returned to Israel. It says the same ratio of Palestinian prisoners to Israeli hostages from the first part will continue, with each additional phase containing the release of at least 10 hostages.

“For each additional release of 10 hostages there will be an additional pause in fighting of 24 hours,” it says.

Again, in the second stage, prisoners will only be released once the hostages are back in Israel.

The statement says that “immediately after the end of the pause in fighting needed to secure the release of the hostages, fighting will resume in the Gaza Strip in order to destroy the military and organizational capabilities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and to create the conditions for the return of all the hostages.”

The decision authorizes the war cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister Benny Gantz to decide on the identity of prisoners to be released in each phase, taken from the list provided.

They are also authorized to determine the timing of each phase.

In addition, they can decide on the end of the phases, and the entire exchange and pause in fighting is limited to a maximum of ten days from the end of the first phase, the decision says.

Any Palestinian prisoners on the list who have not been released by the end of the exchanges will not be freed, the decision says.

Following the publication of the names of the Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli public was granted 24 hours to appeal to the High Court against the deal or the release of specific prisoners.

Terror victims group to appeal to High Court against hostage release deal

The High Court of Justice holds a hearing on petitions against the government's prime minister recusal law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
The High Court of Justice holds a hearing on petitions against the government's prime minister recusal law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The Almagor Terror Victims Association says it will file a petition to the High Court of Justice at noon today against the government’s deal to secure the return of 50 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

In a letter to Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Almagor founder Meir Indoor together with board member Dr. Aryeh Bachrach write that the organization believes “the same landmines and surprises in the agreement were [present] in almost every other [hostage] deal in the past.”

Almagor demands to see the list of prisoners Israel is considering releasing as part of the deal, which the Justice Ministry has now published on its website.

The organization also demands to see all details of the commitments Israel is making to Hamas regarding restrictions on combat during the ceasefire period, including the cessation of intelligence gathering, “as well as the delivery of fuel and other supplies which may help Hamas conduct terror operations against residents of Israel.”

Additionally, they call on Levin to disclose “the general commitments Israel is making to Hamas that have been given directly or through a third party.”

The High Court will hear any petition filed during the course of today and is widely expected to reject it, as it did with petitions against the Shalit deal in 2011.

Israel names Palestinian prisoners who could be released as part of hostage deal

A Palestinian waves a Hamas flag during clashes with Israeli troops at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on October 27, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)
A Palestinian waves a Hamas flag during clashes with Israeli troops at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on October 27, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

Israel releases a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners and detainees who could be released as part of the deal to free Israeli hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.

The publication gives members of the public the opportunity to appeal against the release of specific prisoners.

Under the deal, Israel will release “up to” 150 security prisoners in exchange for “up to” 50 hostages in first 4 days, plus more to be released according to the same ratio out of the list of 300 prisoners if further hostages are freed.

The vast majority, 287 of the 300 security prisoners scheduled for possible release, are males aged 18 and under — most of them held for rioting and rock-throwing in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

The other 13 prisoners are adult women, most of them convicted of attempted terror stabbings.

Smotrich: We backed truce deal because it became clear it advances war goals

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads his Religious Zionism party's Knesset faction meeting, November 20, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads his Religious Zionism party's Knesset faction meeting, November 20, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

The Religious Zionism party says its three ministers ultimately overcame their initial opposition to the hostage deal and voted for it after being convinced that the push to uproot Hamas would continue after the four-day ceasefire.

“It is no secret that before the cabinet discussion, we thought otherwise,” writes party head Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in a statement, noting that during the debate they were convinced that “repatriating hostages would advance the goals of the war and that the government, the cabinet and the entire defense establishment were unreservedly committed to continuing the war until the destruction of Hamas.”

Smotrich cites unspecified “clear mechanisms” within the deal to prevent “future machinations and surrender to [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar’s manipulation.”

The far-right leader thanks Israel’s military for creating what he says is the pressure required to have brought a hostage deal to the table.

“We have no intention of stopping, on the contrary – the political echelon stands behind you, believes in you, and is convinced that you will complete the job, destroy the Hamas Nazis in Gaza, and restore security and national dignity to the citizens of Israel,” he adds.

Lapid says his opposition party backs hostage release deal

Opposition Leader and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition Leader and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid says his Yesh Atid party gives its “backing” to the hostages for a ceasefire and prisoners deal approved by Israel’s cabinet early this morning.

Acknowledging that close to 200 hostages will remain in Gaza under the deal terms, Lapid writes on X that “the State of Israel has a supreme obligation to continue to work to return all the hostages home, until the last one.”

US hopes Gaza truce will also lead to pause in fighting on Lebanese border

Illustrative: Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel, as it is seen from Rmeish village in south Lebanon, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Illustrative: Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel, as it is seen from Rmeish village in south Lebanon, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

US President Joe Biden’s administration hopes that a truce in Gaza will lead to a “full pause” in fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border, a senior US official says.

“We also hope that this (agreed four-day truce between Israel and Hamas) will lead to a full pause in some of the hostilities in the north, on the Lebanese border,” the US official says on condition of anonymity.

Red Cross says it’s ready to help facilitate hostage release

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is standing by to assist any swap in the Israel-Hamas war.

“Currently, we are actively engaged in talks with the parties to help carry out any humanitarian agreement they reach,” the Red Cross says.

“As a neutral intermediary, it is important to clarify that we are not part of the negotiations, and we do not make decisions on the substance of it. Our role is to facilitate the implementation, once the parties agree.”

Rocket sirens sound in southern Israel

Rocket warning sirens are sounding in Gaza border communities in southern Israel.

Sirens sound in Sderot, Avim, and Nir Am.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Herzog on hostage deal: ‘It’s a moral and ethical duty’ to redeem captives

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal, right, meet with families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, on November 9, 2023 in Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal, right, meet with families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, on November 9, 2023 in Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog releases a statement expressing support for the hostage agreement, while acknowledging “the understandable, painful and difficult misgivings.”

“It is a moral and ethical duty that correctly expresses the Jewish and Israeli value of redeeming captives, and I hope that it will be a significant first step for bringing all the captives home,” Herzog says.

“The State of Israel, IDF and security forces will continue to act in all ways to achieve this goal, along with restoring complete security to Israeli citizens,” he adds.

Biden welcomes Israel-Hamas deal, vows to continue efforts until all hostages released

US President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he departs Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on November 21, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he departs Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on November 21, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

US President Joe Biden welcomes the recently announced hostage deal between Israel and Hamas.

“Jill and I have been keeping all those held hostage and their loved ones close to our hearts these many weeks, and I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of captivity and an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” Biden says in a statement, thanking the leaders of Qatar, Egypt and Israel for their efforts.

“I appreciate the commitment that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government have made in supporting an extended pause to ensure this deal can be fully carried out and to ensure the provision of additional humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian families in Gaza.”

“It is important that all aspects of this deal be fully implemented,” he adds, noting that he plans to keep in contact with each of the aforementioned leaders to ensure that the deal is executed in its entirety

“As president, I have no higher priority than ensuring the safety of Americans held hostage around the world. That’s why—from the earliest moments of Hamas’s brutal assault—my national security team and I have worked closely with regional partners to do everything possible to secure the release of our fellow citizens,” Biden says, noting how two Americans were already released on October 20 and that several more are expected to be freed in the coming days as a result of this deal.

“I will not stop until they are all released,” he says.

IDF says soldier killed fighting in Gaza, bringing ground op toll to 69

This photo released by the military on November 22, 2023, shows Cpt. Liron Snir, a commander in the Golani Brigade's Reconnaissance Battalion, who was killed fighting against Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)
This photo released by the military on November 22, 2023, shows Cpt. Liron Snir, a commander in the Golani Brigade's Reconnaissance Battalion, who was killed fighting against Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says that Cpt. Liron Snir, 25, was killed fighting Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip.

Snir, from Ofra, was a platoon commander in the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion.

His death brings the toll in the ground operation to 69.

The military also announces that a soldier in the Givati Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion was seriously hurt in the fighting.

Qatar says start of ‘humanitarian pause’ to be announced in next 24 hours

Qatar has confirmed an agreement for a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the release of hostages held by the Gaza-ruling terror group, saying the start time will be announced in the next 24 hours and that it will last for four days.

The statement early this morning from Qatar’s foreign ministry describes the talks that produced the agreement as a mediation by Egypt, the US and Qatar for a “humanitarian pause.”

“The starting time of the pause will be announced within the next 24 hours and last for four days, subject to extension,” the statement says. “The agreement includes the release of 50 civilian women and children hostages currently held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of a number of Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, the number of those released will be increased in later stages of implementing the agreement.”

It adds that the ceasefire will “allow the entry of a larger number of humanitarian convoys and relief aid, including fuel designated for humanitarian needs.” It offers no specifics on that, however.

Bahraini government websites briefly inaccessible after cyberattack linked to Israel-Hamas war

Bahrain Crown Prince Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa delivers the keynote address at the opening of the three day IISS Manama Dialogue security conference, in Manama on November 17, 2023. (Mazen Mahdi/AFP)
Bahrain Crown Prince Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa delivers the keynote address at the opening of the three day IISS Manama Dialogue security conference, in Manama on November 17, 2023. (Mazen Mahdi/AFP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The websites of two government ministries in Bahrain briefly became inaccessible last night after a cyberattack took them down, purportedly over the island kingdom’s stance on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

A statement posted online by a self-described group calling itself Al-Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic, claims hacking the Foreign Ministry and the Information Affairs Ministry’s websites. Both later became accessible.

Another statement includes scans of passports for American citizens and a top Russian diplomat in Bahrain that allegedly came from the hack.

The statement says the hacks came in retaliation for “the abnormal statements issued” by the island’s Al Khalifa ruling family, without elaborating. Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa opened a summit last week in the kingdom by condemning the October 7 Hamas onslaught, while calling for the release of hostages and a halt to the fighting.

A Bahrain government statement sent to The Associated Press acknowledges that “a number of government agency websites have today been the target of malicious cyberattacks.”

“The government of Bahrain has implemented a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and framework to address such threats,” the statement says. “Government operations were unaffected by the attacks, and work is ongoing to restore access to the targeted websites.”

In February, the self-described group issued a claim that it had taken down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport, state news agency and chamber of commerce to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country. The same shadowy self-described group targeted government websites during elections held last year that were boycotted by a banned Shiite opposition group and others.

Bahrain reached a diplomatic recognition deal with Israel in 2020 alongside the United Arab Emirates. The island kingdom, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has drawn repeated criticism from Iran, its regional arch rival, over that.

Pentagon says US hit 2 sites in Iraq ‘in direct response’ to Iran-backed attacks

WASHINGTON — The United States military carried out new strikes against two sites in Iraq early this morning in retaliation for attacks by “Iran and Iran-backed groups,” US Central Command says.

US forces “conducted discrete, precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq,” CENTCOM says on X, previously Twitter.

“The strikes were in direct response to the attacks against US and Coalition forces by Iran and Iran-backed groups,” the post adds, and come the day after a previous US air strike killed multiple Iranian-backed militiamen in Iraq.

Hamas: ‘Humanitarian truce’ meant ‘to serve our people and enhance their steadfastness’

Hamas says it welcomes a “humanitarian truce” approved by Israel that provides for the freeing of hostages held by the terror group in Gaza in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

“The provisions of this agreement were formulated according to the vision of the resistance and its determinants that aim to serve our people and enhance their steadfastness in the face of aggression,” a Hamas statement says.

Hamas says the agreement will lead to an increase of fuel and humanitarian aid deliveries into Gaza, along with the release of 50 Israeli women and children in exchange for a four-day ceasefire — the only part of the deal to be confirmed by Israel.

Sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another terror group, had earlier told AFP the truce would include a complete ceasefire on the ground and a pause in Israeli air operations over southern Gaza.

After approving deal, government says ‘committed to bringing all the abductees home’

A billboard bearing portraits of Israeli hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists in the October 7 attack in southern Israel is displayed during a demonstration calling for their release, in Tel Aviv on November 15, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
A billboard bearing portraits of Israeli hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists in the October 7 attack in southern Israel is displayed during a demonstration calling for their release, in Tel Aviv on November 15, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The Prime Minister’s Office issues a formal statement confirming the cabinet’s decision early this morning to approve the first hostage deal of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

“The Israeli government is committed to bringing all the abductees home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal, under which at least 50 abductees – women and children – will be released over a span of four days, during which there will be a lull in the fighting,” the statement says.

“The release of every ten additional abductees will result in an additional day of respite,” it adds.

“The Israeli government, the IDF and the security forces will continue the war to return all the abductees, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that Gaza does not renew any threat to the State of Israel.”

The statement does not offer details regarding any of the other concessions Israel is believed to have made, including the release of Palestinian prisoners and the entry of additional fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza.

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