ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Nov. 24: Israel receives list of second group of hostages slated for release Saturday

Families are at Israeli hospitals to be reunited with 4 children, 3 mothers and 6 other women freed on first day of truce deal * Israel releases 39 terror convicts in return

  • The hostages released by Hamas in an ambulance en route to Israel on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Youm7)
    The hostages released by Hamas in an ambulance en route to Israel on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Youm7)
  • Israeli hostages released on November 24, 2023: Top from L-R: Adina Moshe, Margalit Moses, Danielle Aloni and her daughter Emilia; middle: Doron Asher and her daughters Raz and Aviv, Hannah Katzir; bottom row: Keren Munder and her son Ohad, Ruti Munder, Yaffa Adar and Channah Peri. (Photos: Courtesy; combination image: Times of Israel)
    Israeli hostages released on November 24, 2023: Top from L-R: Adina Moshe, Margalit Moses, Danielle Aloni and her daughter Emilia; middle: Doron Asher and her daughters Raz and Aviv, Hannah Katzir; bottom row: Keren Munder and her son Ohad, Ruti Munder, Yaffa Adar and Channah Peri. (Photos: Courtesy; combination image: Times of Israel)
  • International Red Cross vehicles carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023. (Mohammed Abed / AFP)
    International Red Cross vehicles carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023. (Mohammed Abed / AFP)
  • First footage of the Israeli hostages in ambulances making their way through Egypt's Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
    First footage of the Israeli hostages in ambulances making their way through Egypt's Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
  • Helicopter headsets for adults and children await released hostages on an aircraft at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)
    Helicopter headsets for adults and children await released hostages on an aircraft at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)
  • A man walks past a billboard calling for the return of about 240 hostages who were abducted during the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught in Israel, in Jerusalem, November 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
    A man walks past a billboard calling for the return of about 240 hostages who were abducted during the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught in Israel, in Jerusalem, November 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
  • Toys await child hostages released from Hamas captivity, at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)
    Toys await child hostages released from Hamas captivity, at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)
  • Palestinian prisoners released as part of the truce with Hamas board a bus from Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
    Palestinian prisoners released as part of the truce with Hamas board a bus from Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
  • Israelis celebrate release of first 13 hostages at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
    Israelis celebrate release of first 13 hostages at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

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

Uncertain about their own loved ones, families rejoice in 13 other hostages’ release

Jimmy Miller attends a solidarity rally for the release of hostages on November 24, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)
Jimmy Miller attends a solidarity rally for the release of hostages on November 24, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

Friday has been the happiest day in a long time for the family of Shiri Bibas, a mother of two boys younger than 4 whom Hamas terrorists abducted on October 7.

Bibas remains a hostage. She is not among the 13 Israelis released from Gaza, and authorities have given her family no estimated time for her release.

Her relatives are uplifted by the release of 13 other hostages, all of them women or children. It “fills our hearts with joy that we haven’t felt since this started,” Shiri Bibas’s cousin, Jimmy Miller, tells The Times of Israel.

Shiri Bibas’s abduction is iconic. Videos of her capture show terrorists leading a terrified Bibas around in Kibbutz Nir Oz while she held her two ginger sons, Ariel and Kfir.

A total of 50 Israelis are to be freed in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners during a 4-day ceasefire that began Friday. Bibas’s family hopes that she, her sons and her husband Yarden are among the remaining 37 Israelis who are to be part of the remainder of the exchange.

Several relatives of hostages understood to be among the remaining 37 Israelis said that authorities have not yet informed them on whether their loved ones are to be released in future exchange, Channel 12 reports Friday.

Miller and several other relatives are attending a solidarity rally with the hostages at Tel Aviv’s so-called Hostage Square, opposite the Kirya army headquarters. They’re wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a drawing of the Bibas family.

Armed Palestinian groups in W. Bank reportedly execute two men accused of spying for Israel

Members of Palestinian armed groups in the West Bank city of Tulkarem have reportedly executed two men accused of spying for Israel.

Pictures on social media show the bodies of the two men hanging from an electricity poll.

Hamas releases footage of hostage handover to Red Cross in apparent attempt to come off as humane

Hamas terrorists transfer Ohad Munder to the Red Cross in Khan Younis on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Hamas terrorists transfer Ohad Munder to the Red Cross in Khan Younis on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Hamas releases footage of it transferring some of the 24 hostages it released today to the Red Cross, in an apparent attempt to portray its fighters acting humanely after they holding the captives for 49 days.

200 truckloads of humanitarian aid enter Gaza — largest total since war’s outbreak

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza Strip from Egypt in Rafah as a temporary ceasefire went into effect Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza Strip from Egypt in Rafah as a temporary ceasefire went into effect Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Two-hundred trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza today, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians COGAT announces.

This is by far the largest number of trucks to enter Gaza since the outbreak of the war and is a fulfillment of Israel’s commitments to allow in 200 trucks of aid for every day of the temporary truce.

US officials told The Times of Israel earlier this week that they didn’t think Israel would be able to abide by this clause due to the limited aid delivery mechanisms currently in place.

“The humanitarian aid trucks contained food, water, shelter equipment and medical supplies only,” COGAT says.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 137 of the trucks have been offloaded by UNRWA workers for distribution.

One hundred and twenty-nine thousand liters of fuel and four trucks of gas also crossed into Gaza today, OCHA says.

Hundreds of thousands of people were assisted with food, water, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian items throughout the day, according to OCHA.

“The UN welcomes the release of 24 hostages held in Gaza since October 7 and renews its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” OCHA says.

Nathavaree Mulkan among the 11 foreign nationals released from Gaza

Nathavaree Mulkan. (Courtesy)
Nathavaree Mulkan. (Courtesy)

Nathavaree Mulkan is among the 11 foreign nationals who were released earlier today in a separate deal from the one that brought 13 Israelis back home, Channel 12 reports.

Ten of the foreign nationals, including Mulkan, are from Thailand. One of them, Jimmy Pacheco, is from the Philippines.

Mulkan is the only woman among the foreign nationals released today.

She was falsely rumored to have been pregnant and to have given birth to a baby in Gaza.

The 11 foreign nationals have arrived at Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center in Be’er Yaakov for evaluation by medical staff.

The hospital reports that all 11 of them are in good condition.

The foreign nationals are welcomed by diplomats from Thailand and the Philippines as well as representatives from the Israeli government.

Freed hostages who were taken to Hatzerim base arrive at hospitals for family reunions

Israeli security forces carry privacy screens at the helipad outside Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Israeli security forces carry privacy screens at the helipad outside Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The 22 freed hostages who were first taken for checks at the Hatzerim airbase upon returning to Israel have been airlifted to several different hospitals around the country where they have arrived and are being reunited privately with their families.

The 11 freed hostages from Thailand and the Philippines have arrived at Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center in Be’er Yaakov for evaluation by medical staff.

Danielle Aloni, Emilia Aloni, Doron Asher, Raz Asher, Aviv Asher, Keren Munder, Ruti Munder and Ohad Munder have arrived at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

Two other freed hostages were taken directly to hospitals upon returning to Israel.

Other hostages have arrived at the Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson Hospitals.

Israel reportedly agreed for hostages to be released through Egypt in nod to Cairo

Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)

Israel reportedly moved for the hostages to be released through Egypt after they were initially planned to be transferred directly into Israel from Gaza, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The decision was made in an effort to give Cairo an added boost of credit for its efforts in securing the release of the hostages.

Analysts speculate that Israel is going to want to boost the role of Egypt at the expense of Qatar once the war draws to a close over long-held fears that Doha operates duplicitously and is too close to Hamas and Iran.

Israel receives list of hostages slated for release on Saturday

Israelis at the 'Hostages Square,' outside the Art Museum of Tel Aviv, as the first group of Israeli hostages is safely back in Israel, on November 24, 2023, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Gili Yaari/FLASH90)
Israelis at the 'Hostages Square,' outside the Art Museum of Tel Aviv, as the first group of Israeli hostages is safely back in Israel, on November 24, 2023, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Gili Yaari/FLASH90)

Israel has received the list of hostages who are slated to be released by Hamas on Saturday — the second day of the truce, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announces.

After reviewing the list, Israeli security officials notified the hostages’ families, the PMO says.

Yesterday, Israeli authorities notified both the families of the hostages being released as well as those who were not on the first list.

Channel 12 reports that the latest list is 13 names, as it was today, but includes more children.

Only four of the 13 Israelis released today were children.

Netanyahu’s office urges the media to act with caution and avoid publicizing the names of those on the list before they are back in Israel.

One of reasons Hamas struck was US effort to broker Israel-Saudi normalization deal, Biden says

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center), US President Joe Biden (roght) and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman hold hands before the start of a session at the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center), US President Joe Biden (roght) and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman hold hands before the start of a session at the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP)

US President Joe Biden again raises his claim that one of the reasons that Hamas carried out the October 7 onslaught was because his administration was “working very closely with the Saudis and others in the region to bring peace to the region by having recognition of Israel and Israel’s right to exist.”

He acknowledges that he “cannot prove” this assertion but asserts that it’s what he believes.

Biden points to the pre-October 7 announcement of a new rail and shipping corridor connecting Europe to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“The whole idea has overwhelming interest,” he says, adding that he will continue advancing such initiatives “to change the dynamic in [the Middle East] for longer term peace.”

Hamas only responds to pressure, Biden says, falling in line with Israeli stance

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Asked whether he trusts Hamas, Biden responds pointedly, “I don’t trust Hamas to do anything right. I only trust Hamas to respond to pressure.”

This response falls in line with the Israeli position, which maintains that the ongoing hostage deal would not have been possible without Israel’s intensive military operation in Gaza.

Asked about conditioning aid to Israel, Biden says it’s a ‘worthwhile thought,’ but wouldn’t have been effective

US President Joe Biden responds to a reporter as he leaves after speaking in Nantucket,  Massachusetts , Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day temporary cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
US President Joe Biden responds to a reporter as he leaves after speaking in Nantucket, Massachusetts , Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day temporary cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Biden is asked about members of the Democratic party who have called for aid to Israel to be conditioned on its human rights record.

“That’s a worthwhile thought, but I don’t think if I started off with that we’d have ever gotten to where we are today. We have to take this one piece at a time,” Biden responds.

The response raises eyebrows as the Biden administration to date has opposed efforts to condition aid to Israel beyond stipulations that already exist in all security assistance packages, which critics claim are not applied to the Jewish state.

It is not entirely clear whether Biden’s initial response was to the question regarding conditioning aid as another question was also being shouted at the same time.

Biden: I’ve pushed PM to reduce casualties while advancing ‘legitimate objective’ of eradicating Hamas

US President Joe Biden (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)
US President Joe Biden (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Asked whether he’s pressured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to set a timeline for when the war will end, US President Joe Biden says he’s encouraged the Israeli premier “to focus on trying to reduce the number of casualties while he is attempting to eliminate Hamas, which is the legitimate objective.”

“That’s a difficult task, and I don’t know how long it will take. My expectation and hope is that as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world on the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down to bring this to an end as quickly as we can,” Biden adds.

Hamas carried out onslaught because it fears Israelis, Palestinians living in peace — Biden

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit shops in Nantucket, Mass., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit shops in Nantucket, Mass., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

US President Joe Biden calls for renewing efforts to advance a two-state solution following the October 7 Hamas onslaught.

“We need to renew our resolve to pursue [a] two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can one day live side by side… with equal measure of freedom and dignity,” Biden says, reiterating a favorite administration talking point.

“Hamas unleashed this terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace,” Biden asserts. “To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing and war is to give Hamas what it seeks. We can’t do that.”

He says he’ll continue engaging with leaders in the Middle East to promote a future “where this kind of violence is unthinkable.”

Biden: ‘Hamas doesn’t give a damn’ about Palestinians; we’ll prevent it from diverting aid

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

US President Joe Biden says the humanitarian pause he’s been calling for — and which went into effect today — serves two purposes: Accelerating aid into Gaza and facilitating the release of the hostages.

Biden in his remarks to the press highlights the three American citizens who are slated for release, including four-year-old Avigail Idan, whose parents were murdered on October 7 by Hamas terrorists.

Asked whether he knows when exactly the dual US-Israeli nationals will be released, Biden responds that he does not.

“We will not stop until we get these hostages brought home and an answer to their whereabouts,” Biden says.

Turning to the issue of aid, Biden says that the truce “brings a critical opportunity to deliver much needed food, medicine, water and fuel to the civilians in Gaza, and we are not wasting one single minute.

“We put in place mechanisms to prevent Hamas from diverting these supplies and we’re continuing that effort to make sure aid gets to the people who need it,” he says.

More than 200 trucks arrived outside at the Rafah Crossing today, with some carrying fuel “not only to power the trucks delivering these life saving supplies but also for desalinization, for water wells, for hospitals and for bakeries,” Biden says.

“Hundreds of more trucks are getting in position as well, ready to enter Gaza over the coming days to support the innocent Palestinians who are suffering greatly because of this war that Hamas has unleashed.”

“Hamas doesn’t give a damn about them,” Biden says plainly.

Biden: Today’s hostage release ‘only a start’; ‘real chance’ truce extends additional days

US President Joe Biden speaks from Nantucket, Massachusetts on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
US President Joe Biden speaks from Nantucket, Massachusetts on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

US President Joe Biden says Americans have another reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving following today’s release of 24 hostages by Hamas.

“Today we can also be thankful for families being reunited with loved ones who have been held hostage for nearly 50 days,” Biden says in prepared remarks to the press in Nantucket, Massachusetts where he is celebrating Thanksgiving.

Thirteen Israelis and 11 foreign nationals from Thailand and the Philippines were released as part of the multi-day truce reached by Israel and Hamas, the first one since the outbreak of the war. At least 50 Israeli women and children held hostage by Hamas are slated for release over the first four days of the truce.

Asked whether he thinks the truce could extend further, which would allow for the release of additional hostages, Biden says, “the chances are real.”

Biden notes that the hostage deal is a result of “extensive US diplomacy, including numerous calls I’ve made from the Oval Office to leaders across the region.” The president makes a point of thanking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with mediators in Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for their cooperation in seeing the deal through.

Biden stresses that today’s releases are “only a start,” while acknowledging that things have “so far gone well.”

“The teddy bears waiting to greet those [released] children at the hospital are a stark reminder of the trauma these children have been through and at such a very young age,” Biden laments, adding that he and his wife Jill are “keeping them all in our prayers today.”

First two hostages arrive at Wolfson Medical Center where they’re reuniting with their families

Israelis at the 'Hostages Square,' outside the Art Museum of Tel Aviv, as the first group of Israeli hostages is safely back in Israel, on November 24, 2023, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Israelis at the 'Hostages Square,' outside the Art Museum of Tel Aviv, as the first group of Israeli hostages is safely back in Israel, on November 24, 2023, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The Health Ministry updates that two of the freed female hostages have arrived by ambulance at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

Their families are at the hospital with them.

Likud MK: ‘We can’t stand the Qataris, but they brought the goods’

Then-Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during a visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (unseen) at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Then-Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during a visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (unseen) at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud MK Danny Danon says, “we can’t stand” the Qataris but admits that “they brought the goods” in securing the release of the first batch of hostages earlier today.

Israel has a love-hate relationship with Qatar, which it has relied on heavily to broker the release of its hostages. However, Qatar’s support for Hamas over the years — much of which Israel helped facilitate — has become a point of bitter contention since the October 7 onslaught.

German foreign minister announces 4 of released hostages are German citizens

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock attends a meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (Ammar Awad /Pool Photo via AP)
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock attends a meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (Ammar Awad /Pool Photo via AP)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announces that four of the hostages released earlier today are dual Israeli-German citizens.

IDF: Hostages reach Hatzerim airbase, will board helicopters to hospitals for reunion with families

An IDF officer embraces Danielle Aloni after her embrace from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Courtesy)
An IDF officer embraces Danielle Aloni after her embrace from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Courtesy)

The IDF says 22 released hostages, Israelis and foreigners, have reached the Hatzerim airbase in southern Israel.

Before doing so, they will undergo an additional round of medical tests and have an opportunity to call their families.

They will then depart on helicopters for hospitals and reunite with their families in-person

Two female Israeli hostages were taken directly to hospitals by ambulance, the IDF says.

The IDF says the released hostages are being escorted by officers, including medical officials.

“IDF representatives are accompanying their families at the hospitals and are giving them regular updates,” it says.

IDF spokesperson says 24 released hostages underwent initial tests and are in good condition

The hostages released by Hamas in an ambulance en route to Israel on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Youm7)
The hostages released by Hamas in an ambulance en route to Israel on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Youm7)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the released hostages, 13 Israelis and 11 foreigners, have all undergone initial medical tests and are in good condition.

They are being taken to the Hatzerim airbase to complete physical and mental checkups, and call their families.

The foreigners, from Thailand and the Philippines, will meet representatives of their nations, Hagari says.

They will all be then taken by Israeli Air Force helicopters to hospitals, where they will meet their relatives for the first time in 49 days.

“We must not forget that each and every one of those returning home still has a family member or relative who was murdered or is in captivity in Gaza. It is a great sadness mixed with joy and excitement,” he says.

Among those released tonight is Hanna Katzir, whom the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group falsely said had died in captivity. “This is the proof that [the public] should rely on official sources,” Hagari says.

Reports: Israel yet to receive list of hostages who are supposed to be released tomorrow

An International Red Cross Ambulance apparently carrying Israeli hostages -- elderly women and at least one children held in the Gaza Strip on November 24, 2023 (Screen grab via Al Arabiya used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An International Red Cross Ambulance apparently carrying Israeli hostages -- elderly women and at least one children held in the Gaza Strip on November 24, 2023 (Screen grab via Al Arabiya used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Hebrew media reports that Israel has yet to receive the list of the hostages who Hamas will release tomorrow.

The truce the sides reached stipulated that Israel would receive a list of hostages the night before their release on each day of the truce.

Biden to give speech on release of hostages from Gaza

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)

US President Joe Biden — who is currently in Nantucket, Massachusetts for Thanksgiving — will give a speech at 1:45 p.m. local time (8:45 p.m. in Israel) on the release of the first batch of hostages from Gaza as part of the multi-day truce between Israel and Hamas.

Jimmy Pacheco, Filipino caregiver taken hostage on Oct. 7, among those released in Thai deal

Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco after his release from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco after his release from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco, 33, a Filipino caregiver and father of three, who was taken hostage to Gaza by Hamas terrorists attacking Kibbutz Nir Oz, is among the 24 people who were released today back to Israel, the Moked Hotline for Refugees and Migrants announces.

He is one of the 11 foreign workers released in a separate deal from the one that freed the 13 Israeli hostages. Pacheco was released along with 10 Thai nationals.

Pacheco lived in Nir Oz where he cared for Amitai Ben Zvi, 80.

Nir Oz, a community of about 400 people situated three kilometers from the Gaza border, lost almost half of its population during Hamas’s shock attack. Over 100 residents and some 15 foreign agricultural workers were killed during the onslaught, and about 80 more were taken captive, according to a military spokesperson.

On that Saturday morning, Jimmy managed to call and tell his friends that he was being kidnapped and Amitai, or Abba, as he called him, had been killed.

Hours later, Amitai Ben Zvi’s family received a video from Jimmy’s family in the Philippines, showing Jimmy handcuffed in a car in Gaza.

Another Hamas video of Jimmy also surfaced on Telegram in which he is surrounded by a shouting crowd.

Jimmy had been working in Israel for five years, caring for Amitai Ben Zvi for the last four years, serving his employer with “quiet, admirable devotion, always attentive to his needs and supportive in countless ways,” wrote Ben Zvi’s daughter.

39 Palestinian prisoners arrive at Beitunia checkpoint following their release as part of hostage deal

Palestinian prisoners released as part of the truce with Hamas board a bus from Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Palestinian prisoners released as part of the truce with Hamas board a bus from Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Thirty-nine Palestinian women and minors have arrived at the Beitunia checkpoint following their release from the Ofer, Damon and Megiddo prisons as part of the hostage deal, the Israel Prisons Service confirms.

The 150 prisoners being released in the deal are either under indictment or have been convicted of security offenses, according to the Justice Ministry. Many of the teens have been imprisoned for throwing stones and clashing with Israeli troops. A handful of those being released have been convicted of attempted murder but none have been convicted of murder.

Health Ministry says 4 hospitals ready to receive 24 freed hostages

The Health Ministry announces that Soroka Medical Center, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Shamir Medical, and Wolfson Medical Center are prepared to receive the 24 freed hostages returned to Israel this evening.

Thirteen Israelis, 10 Thais and one Filipino citizen were freed from Hamas captivity in two separate deals.

The 24 hostages will be brought to the hospitals after undergoing initial physical and mental health checks at the Hatzerim air force base near Beersheba.

“The former hostages will meet with their families at the hospitals and receive a package of medical and psychological care as needed,” the ministry says.

“These are sensitive moments for the families and the freed hostages. We wish to maintain their family and dignity,” it continues.

The freed hostages and their families will be cared for in designated areas of the hospitals, separate from other patients, staff and visitors. The media will be barred from accessing them initially, but the former hostages and their families can later make their own decisions about doing interviews.

Netanyahu and Gantz welcome release of first 13 hostages, vow to secure release of remaining ones

War cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, at a press conference at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 22, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
War cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, at a press conference at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 22, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

In his first statement following the release of the first 13 Israeli hostages, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, “We have now completed the return of the first of our hostage — Children, their mothers and other women. Each and every one of them is an entire world.”

“But I stress to you, the families of the hostages, and to you, the citizens of Israel: We are committed to the return of all our abductees,” Netanyahu adds. “This is one of the goals of the war and we are committed to achieving all goals of the war.”

Fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz releases a statement declaring that “the entire State of Israel is in a state of mixed emotions – joy, pain, sadness, and determination,” as only a small percentage of hostages were released this evening.

He calls the fight to free remaining hostages a “moral imperative” and pledges to continue the fight in Gaza until all are released.

‘The Israeli government welcomes return of our citizens, will work for release of all hostages’ — PM’s office

Israelis celebrate release of first 13 hostages at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
Israelis celebrate release of first 13 hostages at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

“The Israeli government welcomes the return of our citizens,” says statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office following the entry of the first 13 freed Israeli hostages back onto Israeli territory.

“The Israeli government is committed to the return of all hostages and missing persons,” the statement adds.

“Our citizens underwent an initial medical examination and their families were informed by the appointed officials that they have returned,” it says, confirming that 11 foreign nationals have also been released, referring to 10 Thai and 1 Filipino national.

13 freed hostages have re-entered Israeli territory, IDF announces

International Red Cross vehicles reportedly carrying Israeli hostages released by the Hamas terror group as part of an agreement including the release of Palestinian prisoners, cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023 (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
International Red Cross vehicles reportedly carrying Israeli hostages released by the Hamas terror group as part of an agreement including the release of Palestinian prisoners, cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023 (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

A statement from the IDF confirms the 13 hostages are in Israeli territory, and are being escorted by special forces and the Shin Bet after undergoing an initial assessment.

“Our forces are accompanying the released hostages until they reach their families at the hospitals,” the statement says.

“The commanders of the IDF and its soldiers salute and embrace the returning hostages upon their return home,” it continues.

“We will continue to work together with the defense establishment’s bodies for the return of all the hostages,” the IDF adds.

The IDF also asks the public to “show patience and sensitivity and respect the privacy of released hostages and their families.”

These are the 13 Israeli hostages released on the first day of the truce with Hamas

Israeli hostages released on November 24, 2023: Top from L-R: Adina Moshe, Margalit Moses, Danielle Aloni and her daughter Emilia; middle: Doron Asher and her daughters Raz and Aviv, Hannah Katzir; bottom row: Keren Munder and her son Ohad, Ruti Munder, Yaffa Adar and Channah Peri. (Courtesy)
Israeli hostages released on November 24, 2023: Top from L-R: Adina Moshe, Margalit Moses, Danielle Aloni and her daughter Emilia; middle: Doron Asher and her daughters Raz and Aviv, Hannah Katzir; bottom row: Keren Munder and her son Ohad, Ruti Munder, Yaffa Adar and Channah Peri. (Courtesy)

The 13 Israeli hostages released earlier today by Hamas have been identified as:

Channa Katzir, 77.

Margalit Mozes, 77.

Yafa Ader, 85.

Hannah Perry, 79.

Adina Moshe, 72.

Danielle Aloni, 44; and Emilia Aloni, 9.

Ruthi Monder, 78;  Keren Monder, 54; and Ohad Monder, 9.

Aviv Asher, 2; Raz Asher, 5; and Doron Katz-Asher, 34.

Hanna Katzir, who PIJ claimed died in captivity, among 13 Israelis released

Hanna Katzir. (Courtesy
Hanna Katzir. (Courtesy

Hanna Katzir — who the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claimed earlier this month had died in captivity in a gruesome example of psychological warfare — is among the 13 Israelis released, her family confirms.

Three members of Munder family — 9-year-old boy, his mother and grandmother — among those released

Keren, Ohad and Ruti Mundar. (Courtesy)
Keren, Ohad and Ruti Mundar. (Courtesy)

Three members of the Munder family who were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 are among the 13 Israelis who have been released.

The freed hostages are 9-year-old Ohad, his 55-year-old mother Keren Munder, and his grandmother Ruti Munder, 78.

Ruti’s husband Avraham Munder remains in Gaza.

Nir Oz residents identify neighbors Margalit Mozes, Adina Moshe in footage of released hostages

Nir Oz residents Adina Moshe (L) and  Margalit Mozes who were taken hostage by Hamas and released on November 24, 2023. (Courtesy)
Nir Oz residents Adina Moshe (L) and Margalit Mozes who were taken hostage by Hamas and released on November 24, 2023. (Courtesy)

Nir Oz residents have identified their neighbors Margalit Mozes, 77, and Adina Moshe, 72, in footage of the hostages crossing through Egypt’s Rafah Crossing.

Both of those names are indeed on the list of names provided to the Israeli government, and both are confirmed by the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum.

Hostages in the hands of Israeli authorities, en route to Kerem Shalom crossing

International Red Cross vehicles reportedly carrying Israeli hostages released by the Hamas terror group as part of an agreement including the release of Palestinian prisoners, cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
International Red Cross vehicles reportedly carrying Israeli hostages released by the Hamas terror group as part of an agreement including the release of Palestinian prisoners, cross the Rafah border point in the Gaza Strip on the way to Egypt on November 24, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

The 13 Israeli hostages are in the hands of Israeli authorities and are en route to the Kerem Shalom crossing through which they will enter Israel, officials say.

While the Kerem Shalom gate separates Israel from Gaza, there is also a side gate separating Egypt and Israel, which the hostages will be crossing through shortly.

Qatar announces release of 39 Palestinian prisoners as part of hostage deal

A grab from a UGC video obtained on November 24, 2023 shows the transfer by Israeli forces of Palestinian prisoners from the Damon prison in Dalyat al-Karmel to the West Bank prison of Ofer, ahead of a planned release in exchange for Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas since October 7th. (ANONYMOUS / AFP)
A grab from a UGC video obtained on November 24, 2023 shows the transfer by Israeli forces of Palestinian prisoners from the Damon prison in Dalyat al-Karmel to the West Bank prison of Ofer, ahead of a planned release in exchange for Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas since October 7th. (ANONYMOUS / AFP)

Qatar foreign ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari announces that 39 Palestinian women and minors imprisoned by Israel have been released in line with Israel’s commitments to the truce.

We also confirm the release of 39 women and children detained in Israeli prisons in implementation of the commitments of the first day of the agreement.

Qatar confirms 24 hostages — 13 Israeli, 10 Thai and 1 Filipino — received by Red Cross

An International Red Cross Ambulance apparently carrying Israeli hostages -- elderly women and at least one children held in the Gaza Strip on November 24, 2023 (Screen grab via Al Arabiya used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An International Red Cross Ambulance apparently carrying Israeli hostages -- elderly women and at least one children held in the Gaza Strip on November 24, 2023 (Screen grab via Al Arabiya used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari tweets, “We confirm that the Red Cross has received 24 civilians detained in the Gaza Strip, including a number of civilian women and children within the framework of the humanitarian truce agreement.

“A number of Thai citizens have also been released outside the framework of the truce agreement and they are currently on their way out of the Strip with the Red Cross,” he adds.

Earlier statements said there would be 13 Israeli and 12 Thai hostages released today.

But Ansari says 13 Israeli hostages were released — some of whom are dual citizens along with 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen.

The Red Cross issues its own statement saying, “We are relieved to confirm the safe release of 24 hostages.”

“We have facilitated this release by transporting them from Gaza to the Rafah border, marking the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the parties,” it adds.

First footage shows Israeli hostages being driven through Egypt crossing; woman seen waving

A woman is seen waving in first footage of the Israeli hostages in ambulances making their way through Egypt's Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
A woman is seen waving in first footage of the Israeli hostages in ambulances making their way through Egypt's Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

NPR publishes some of the first footage of the Israeli hostages in ambulances being driven through Egypt’s Rafah Crossing in Red Cross vehicles from a few minutes ago.

Children and women are visible inside, including one woman waving.

Crowds gather outside West Bank prison awaiting release of Palestinian prisoners

Israeli security forces fire teargas at Palestinians gathering outside the Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Israeli security forces fire teargas at Palestinians gathering outside the Ofer Prison in the West Bank on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Dozens of Palestinians gather outside Ofer prison, located in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, awaiting to celebrate the imminent release of 39 Palestinian prisoners — the first group of the 150 that are slated to be released over the course of four days under the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Video footage filmed at the scene earlier in the day shows Israeli police firing tear gas at the crowd, which includes families of the prisoners, local residents and journalists.

Israeli hostages are now in hands of Shin Bet — source

A Reuters livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
A Reuters livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The 13 Israeli hostages are now in the hands of the Shin Bet security service, according to an Israeli official.

Military action in Gaza will resume, Benny Gantz says at solidarity rally with hostages’ families

National Unity chair Benny Gantz at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
National Unity chair Benny Gantz at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The Israel Defense Forces will resume fighting in Gaza after the four-day ceasefire that began Friday, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz tells a crowd of hundreds attending a solidarity rally in Tel Aviv with the families of the Israeli hostages in Gaza.

“I want to assure the families of all the hostages: We will not stop, we will resume the efforts and the military action in Gaza to retrieve the hostages and restore deterrence,” Gantz, an opposition politician who joined the government following the outbreak of war with Hamas on October 7, tells hundreds of listeners in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Gantz’s visit to Hostage Square comes as Hamas releases the first 13 Israeli hostages along with 12 Thai nationals.

Police reportedly preventing live coverage of celebrations for released Palestinian prisoners

Police forces have surrounded the area outside the East Jerusalem home of one of the 39 Palestinian prisoners slated to be released by Israel as part of the hostage deal, Al Jazeera says, to prevent a gathering of family members and neighbors.

Police are seen ordering the Al Jazeera correspondent to step back and not to film the gathering, as Israel seeks to block public celebrations of the prisoner releases.

Hebrew media reports that the police and the IDF have been surrounding the homes of some of the other Palestinian prisoners slated to be released today in order to avoid a “victory picture” on the Palestinian side.

Report: 12 Thai hostages released earlier by Hamas enter Israel, en route to hospital for check-up

Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)

The 12 Thai hostages released earlier by Hamas have crossed the border into Israel and are currently en route to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in central Israel, Haaretz reports.

There is not immediate, official Israeli confirmation of this.

The 13 Israeli hostages crossed into Egypt moments ago.

Hamas leader abroad Haniyeh says terror group committed to abiding by terms of truce

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a televised speech in which he called for a 'political solution' to the ongoing conflict with Israel, November 1, 2023. (Screenshot, Hamas Telegram channel)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a televised speech in which he called for a 'political solution' to the ongoing conflict with Israel, November 1, 2023. (Screenshot, Hamas Telegram channel)

In a short video, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says that Hamas is committed to abiding by the terms of the truce, as long as Israel does the same.

Haniyeh further says that “Hamas will pursue its effort to halt the Israeli assault on Gaza, complete the prisoner exchange, end the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and “attack” on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to enabling the Palestinian people to realize their legitimate national right for an independent state with Jerusalem as its capit al, self-determination and the return [of Palestinian refugees].”

The terminology is intentionally ambiguous, since in Hamas’s rhetoric Israel is an illegitimate state, and when the terror group speaks of a Palestinian state, it generally refers to a state established on the territory of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza — hence the demand to establish “Jerusalem” as its capital, and not “East Jerusalem,” which is the common demand put forward by the Palestinian Authority and many of the international community.

13 Israeli hostages have crossed into Egypt after 49 days of Gaza captivity

A livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
A livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The first group of 13 Israeli hostages released by Hamas have now crossed into Egypt after 49 days during which they were held by the terror group in Gaza.

Hostages en route to Egypt’s Rafah Crossing; Hamas confirms their release

Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances on stand-by at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)

The Israeli hostages are now en route to the Rafah Crossing to cross into Egypt after earlier being transferred to the Red Cross and undergoing brief medical examinations at a hospital in Khan Younis.

Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa TV cites sources in the terror group who confirm that they have handed over the first batch of Israeli captives to the Red Cross.

Egypt’s Sissi says Israeli-PA peace talks not needed, instead calls for recognition of Palestinian state

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi gestures during a meeting with the French armies minister at the Ittihadia presidential Palace in Cairo on November 15, 2023. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi gestures during a meeting with the French armies minister at the Ittihadia presidential Palace in Cairo on November 15, 2023. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi appears to discredit the moribund Israel-Palestinian peace process and instead calls on the international community to recognize a Palestinian state, which he says would have to be demilitarized.

During a joint news conference with the prime ministers of Spain and Belgium in Cairo, Sissi says reviving the process aimed at ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict “may not be what is required.”

“The results of this path faltering for 30 years tells us that we must” adopt a different approach, he says.

This would entail “the recognition of the Palestinian state by the international community and bringing it into the United Nations… This would show seriousness,” Sissi adds.

He clarifies that the Palestinian state would be demilitarized and that international forces will work to ensure this.

He points to the high civilian death toll in successive Gaza conflicts, saying the wars erupted because the “political horizons for resolving the Palestinian cause always failed” to fulfill the Palestinians’ aspirations.

Sissi’s remarks come on the first day of a truce between Israel and Hamas, to be accompanied by the release of 50 Israeli hostages abducted on October 7 by Hamas, in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

First group of Israel hostages with Red Cross, making way out of Gaza – Israeli official

The first group of Israeli hostages are now in the hands of the staff of the International Committee for Red Cross and are in ambulances on the way from Khan Younis in southern Gaza to the Rafah crossing into Israel, an Israeli official says.

The families of the hostages are on their way to hospitals in Israel, where they are to be reunited later.

Today’s release of 13 hostages — mothers and children — is the first of four expected stages. Hamas has agreed to release some 50 hostages over the four days of the truce with Israel — all children, mothers and other women. The sides agreed that Hamas may eventually free more, in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire by an extra day for each 10 Israeli hostages.

The released hostages are only a small group out of some 240 held by Gaza terrorists since October 7, when 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people in southern Israel.

Israel is set to release 150 Palestinian prisoners held for terror offenses, all of them women and minors, in return for the 50 Israelis. It will free 39 today in return for the first 13 Israelis to return.

Watch: Livefeed from Rafah crossing where hostages slated to arrive shortly

A Reuters livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
A Reuters livefeed from Rafah Crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

A Reuters livefeed is capturing the scenes near the Rafah Crossing where the hostages are slated to arrive shortly.

The Government Press Office is also running an intermittent livefeed, including from the Israeli side of the border, which can be watched here.

Netanyahu, Gallant will monitor hostage deal from IDF’s military headquarters

In this handout photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (R) visit an IDF Central Command base, August 1, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
In this handout photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (R) visit an IDF Central Command base, August 1, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will be at the IDF Operations Directorate’s command center at the military headquarters in Tel Aviv during the hostage deal, the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement.

“The prime minister and defense minister will closely monitor the operation to bring the Israelis freed from Hamas captivity to Israel,” the statement says.

Netanyahu will be joined by National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and his military secretary, Maj. Gen. Avi Gil, and Gallant will be joined by his military secretary, Brig. Gen. Guy Markizeno, and his chief of staff Shachar Katz.

Spain and Belgium PMs hold bizzare press conference at Rafah crossing minutes before hostages’ release

The prime ministers of Belgium and Spain Alexander De Croo and Pedro Sánchez hold a press conference at Egypt's Rafah crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/12)
The prime ministers of Belgium and Spain Alexander De Croo and Pedro Sánchez hold a press conference at Egypt's Rafah crossing on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/12)

The prime ministers of Belgium and Spain Alexander De Croo and Pedro Sánchez are holding a bizarre press conference at Egypt’s Rafah crossing where the 13 Israeli hostages are slated to arrive within minutes.

The premiers are welcoming the entry of aid trucks into Gaza and also calling for a permanent ceasefire.

Neither Belgium nor Spain took part in talks for the hostages’ release.

Thailand announces 12 of its citizens held hostage in Gaza have been released

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) meets with his counterpart from Thailand Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara in Cairo on November 1, 2023, to discuss the situation of Thai hostages held by Hamas. (Photo by AFP)
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) meets with his counterpart from Thailand Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara in Cairo on November 1, 2023, to discuss the situation of Thai hostages held by Hamas. (Photo by AFP)

In addition to the 13 Israeli hostages slated for release in the coming minutes, Egypt’s government media office announces that it has successfully negotiated the separate release of 12 Thai hostages who were abducted during Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

Bangkok says it believes 26 of its citizens were taken hostage that day.

The 12 hostages will also reportedly be released today.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s subsequently confirms that 12 of the country’s citizens have been released.

Report: 12 of 13 hostages set for release today are from Kibbutz Nir Oz

Channel 12 reports that 12 of the 13 hostages set for release today are from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Some 75 in total were abducted from the kibbutz on October 7, 13 of them children.

Hundreds gather at Tel Aviv Museum of Art for display of solidarity with hostages

Keren Gonen wears a T-shirt with a picture of her sister Romi on November 24 in Tel Aviv (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)
Keren Gonen wears a T-shirt with a picture of her sister Romi on November 24 in Tel Aviv (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

Approximately 300 people are gathered in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for a display of solidarity with the Israelis held hostage in Gaza and their families.

The event is a daily occurrence but attendance is significantly higher today in anticipation of the scheduled release of 13 of about 240 people who are presumed to be held hostage.

“Until they’re here, I don’t buy it,” says Keren Gonen, a 30-year-old nurse whose sister, Romi, is believed to be in Gaza. “I’m cautiously optimistic but am keeping back any emotion.” Gonen is a regular at the square “which is my home now,” she tells The Times of Israel.

Several stalls with volunteers offer activities for the visitors, including graffiti art with messages about the abducted. One of them reads “16:00,” a sign of the palpable sense of anticipation of the release. Organizers have placed a giant screen at the square, where they intend to livestream news footage of the release.

“Happiness over the expected release of the 13 hostages is mixing with grief over the ones still captive,” says Ortal Shimon-Raz, a psychologist who volunteers regularly at the square, which on October 24 was renamed by the municipality the Square for the Hostages and Missing. Shimon-Raz, 41, is part of team of volunteers wearing blue shirt emblazoned with the words “Emotional First Aid.”

Other displays include an empty Shabbat dinner table with 240 seats, and 240 yellow plastic chairs tethered together with a coarse sisal rope.

‘Anyone who poses a threat to our forces in Gaza will be hit,’ IDF says

Israeli soldiers are seen during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)
Israeli soldiers are seen during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

A senior officer in the IDF Southern Command says troops will respond to any attempt at harming them amid the ceasefire, while the army spends its time preparing for the resumption of fighting.

“Anyone who poses a threat to our forces will be hit. The security of our forces is a top priority, that’s how we behaved and that’s how we will continue to behave,” the officer says.

He says the ground offensive “and the operational achievements put pressure on Hamas and its leadership, and served as a necessary tool to create conditions for the implementation of the plan to return some of the hostages.

“We will use most of the time for the sake of readiness and planning the tasks expected of us immediately after the end of the truce. We are preparing to continue attacking with all our strength immediately after the end of the truce,” he adds.

The IDF has vowed to prevent Palestinians from returning to northern Gaza from its south, and has already prevented some who tried.

Yesterday, the commander of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, was in the northern Gaza Strip with troops to assess the deployment of forces on the ceasefire lines and approve operational plans.

Red Cross bus arrives at West Bank’s Ofer Prison to receive 39 freed Palestinians

Red Cross representatives have arrived with a bus at Ofer Prison in the West Bank to pick up the 39 Palestinian prisoners set to be released by Israel as part of the first stage of the deal to free Israeli hostages from Gaza.

The prisoners have all been brought to Ofer ahead of their expected release this afternoon, and are currently being processed.

2 Palestinians killed, 11 wounded trying to reach north Gaza despite IDF warnings – AP

Palestinians try to cross back into northern Gaza as an Israeli tank blocks the Salah al-Din road in the central Gaza Strip on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, as the temporary ceasefire goes into effect. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians try to cross back into northern Gaza as an Israeli tank blocks the Salah al-Din road in the central Gaza Strip on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, as the temporary ceasefire goes into effect. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

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

There is no immediate comment from the IDF.

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

The shooting came hours after the Israeli military warned hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who sought refuge in southern Gaza not to attempt to return to their homes in the northern half of the territory, the focus of Israel’s ground offensive. The military had dropped leaflets on southern Gaza saying that returning to northern Gaza is prohibited and dangerous.

Despite this, since a four-day truce went into effect this morning, between hundreds and thousands of Palestinians were seen trying to head to northern Gaza. The military said it responded with riot dispersal measures to attempts to move north. Witnesses asserted that troops opened fire in some cases.

Lebanon border remains calm, seven hours into Gaza truce

An Israeli artillery unit stationed near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, November 22, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
An Israeli artillery unit stationed near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, November 22, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

The Lebanese border has been calm in recent hours as a temporary truce has taken effect in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to Lebanese state media and the Israeli military.

Hezbollah, which has been carrying out daily attacks on Israel along its northern border since October 7, has indicated it will also hold its fire in the next four days of the ceasefire in Gaza, though it was not part of the deal mediated by Qatar. Israel has not given any indication whether it will avoid targeting Hezbollah during this time.

“A precarious calm reigned on the southern border, with the humanitarian truce in Gaza coming into effect at 7 a.m.,” Lebanon’s official National News Agency reports.

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

IDF completes preparations to receive hostages with air teams, therapists, toys

Toys await child hostages released from captivity at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)
Toys await child hostages released from captivity at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)

The IDF says it has completed preparations for the reception of the first group of 13 hostages set to be released at 4 p.m. today from the Gaza Strip, in an operation dubbed “Heaven’s Door.”

Once released from Gaza via Egypt, the hostages will be brought by the IDF to Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel for an initial reception, where they will undergo a short physical and mental checkup.

The military has prepared psychologists and mental health experts to greet the hostages, many of whom are expected to be children. The experts will explain to them what happened in their community on October 7 when they believe the time is right.

The IDF has brought phones for the hostages so that they can call their relatives immediately upon arriving at Hatzerim.

The released hostages will remain for up to two hours at Hatzerim before being taken to a hospital, either by helicopter or minibus. The helicopters will be flying in a more comfortable and quiet mode.

Those who need immediate medical attention will be taken straight from the border to a hospital, without going to Hatzerim.

The families of the hostages are waiting at the hospitals, and hotel rooms have been reserved in the area.

Helicopter headsets for adults and children await released hostages on an aircraft at Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, November 24, 2023 (IDF)

Schneider children’s hospital has recommended that the hostages remain at least 48 hours under observation before being released home.

The same process will be carried out over the next four days for the remaining hostages who are to be released from Hamas captivity. Some 50 hostages — children, their mothers and other women — are set to be freed over the four days, during which the IDF is halting its military campaign to destroy Hamas in Gaza, with three Palestinian security prisoners to be freed in exchange for each hostage. The four-day truce can potentially be extended for one extra day for each group of 10 more hostages freed by Hamas.

The IDF in a statement asks the public to “show patience and sensitivity and respect the privacy of released hostages and their families” and not to circulate unverified information.

In West Bank, troops shoot dead PIJ operative, demolish a terrorist’s home

Overnight, the IDF demolished the home of Kamel Abu Bakr, the terrorist behind a deadly Tel Aviv shooting in August, in the West Bank village of Rummanah. Abu Bakr killed Tel Aviv patrolman Chen Amir.

Separately, during an arrest raid in the Aqbar Jabr refugee camp near Jericho, the IDF says troops killed Mohammed Hinnawi, an Islamic Jihad operative who “recruited a military squad and carried out several shooting attacks against IDF forces in recent months.”

The IDF says it seized an assault rifle and military equipment in Hinnawi’s car.

Tensions in the West Bank have been high since Hamas’s October 7 onslaught on southern Israel and subsequent fighting in the Gaza Strip. The IDF says troops have arrested some 1,950 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,100 affiliated with Hamas, since the war began.

 

Emerging from shelters, Gazans hope to return home during temporary truce

Palestinians who had taken refuge in temporary shelters return to their homes in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip during the first hours of a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas, on November 24, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Palestinians who had taken refuge in temporary shelters return to their homes in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip during the first hours of a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas, on November 24, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

With children and pets in their arms and their belongings loaded onto donkey carts or car roofs, thousands of displaced Gazans are trying to head home as a four-day Israel-Hamas truce begins.

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

For nearly seven weeks, Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip have been relentless. But on Friday morning, no more shots are heard in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Palestinian territory.

Hayat al-Muammar is among those hurrying to take advantage of the truce deal.

“I’m going home,” says the 50-year-old, who had been sheltering in a school. “We fled the death, destruction and everything.”

Israel has warned that it is not possible for those now in southern Gaza to move to the north, where it remains heavily deployed.

Drone warning in Eilat a false alarm

The IDF says the suspected drone infiltration siren that sounded in Eilat was a false alarm.

“This was a false identification and there is no concern of a security incident,” it says.

Drone infiltration alarm sounds in southern town of Eilat

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.

Protesters set off smoke bombs outside AIPAC president’s home, brand him ‘baby killer’

US pro-Palestinian demonstrators have held a loud protest outside a vacation home of AIPAC president Michael Tuchin in Los Angeles, setting off smoke bombs and branding him a “baby killer.”

They also spilled red paint outside the home, signifying blood, and chanted “Fuck your holiday” at the head of the pro-Israel lobby.

Thai foreign minister says he can’t confirm reports of Thai hostages set for release

A relative hugs a Thai overseas worker who was evacuated from Israel after Hamas's October 7 attacks, as he and others arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn Province, Thailand, on October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
A relative hugs a Thai overseas worker who was evacuated from Israel after Hamas's October 7 attacks, as he and others arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn Province, Thailand, on October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

Thailand’s foreign minister says he has not yet been able to confirm media reports that 23 Thai workers held hostage in Gaza are set to be released. The minister does say that his Iranian counterpart, who is serving as an intermediary with the Hamas terror group, has told him there will be “good news soon.”

Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara says his ministry has been preparing to receive the hostages if and when they are released.

Qatari officials, who have been the main intermediaries in hostage release talks, will have a meeting about the matter, Parnpree says. He adds that he expects Thai officials to know more regarding developments later today and hopes it will be good news.

The missing workers were among some 30,000 Thais employed mostly in Israel’s agricultural sector. According to the Thai foreign ministry, 39 were killed in Hamas’s October 7 terror massacres, and 36 were abducted. More than 8,600 workers have been voluntarily repatriated home since the attacks.

Palestinian terror convicts to be freed said to include stabbers, East Jerusalemites

The Palestinian terror convicts Israel intends to free today include inmates who committed stabbing attacks against Israelis, and some are from East Jerusalem, according to Army Radio.

They consist of 24 women and 15 minors, the Reuters news agency reports, citing an unnamed Palestinian official.

It is the first batch out of at least 150 security prisoners set for release in the coming days as part of a deal with Hamas for the release of at least 50 hostages held in Gaza and a four-day ceasefire, which can be extended if more abductees are freed.

Many Gazans return toward homes; IDF uses riot dispersal means to prevent northbound movement

Palestinians who had taken refuge in temporary shelters return to their homes in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip during the first hours of a four-day truce in the battles between Israel and Hamas terrorists, on November 24, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Palestinians who had taken refuge in temporary shelters return to their homes in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip during the first hours of a four-day truce in the battles between Israel and Hamas terrorists, on November 24, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Many Gazan residents are heading toward their homes, including some trying to reach the Strip’s north despite Israeli warnings that it is still a war zone, and despite a ceasefire taking hold.

On some occasions, Hebrew and Palestinian media outlets report that IDF forces have used riot dispersal means to prevent people from moving north.

Israel confirms 4 fuel tankers, 4 cooking gas trucks have entered Gaza as part of truce

Four tankers of fuel and four tankers of cooking gas entered the Gaza Strip for United Nations humanitarian aid organizations this morning, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) says.

The trucks entered the southern part of the Strip via Egypt’s Rafah border crossing.

COGAT says the delivery is “with the approval of the political echelon, within the framework of the truce and the schedule for the release of the hostages agreed upon with the US, mediated by Qatar and Egypt.”

“The fuel and cooking gas are intended for operating essential humanitarian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” it adds.

Reports: Fuel trucks start entering Gaza as part of ceasefire

Palestinian and Hebrew media outlets report fuel trucks entering Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing, as part of the ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel that has commenced.

Israel Prison Service commences release process of 39 Palestinian prisoners

The Israel Prison Service has received a list of 39 Palestinian terror convicts who will be released today as part of the deal with Hamas that will also see 13 hostages released from Gaza, according to an official Israeli source.

This is the first day out of four in which such exchanges are expected to be held, with additional days of ceasefire possible if Hamas agrees to release more hostages.

According to the source, the Prison Service has started processing the 39 underage and female inmates slated for release later today. They will be moved to Ofer Prison in the West Bank shortly before noon, ahead of their release to the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

They will go free only after the 13 Israeli hostages are released and properly identified.

Before truce, IDF destroys Hamas tunnel under Shifa hospital, completes new deployment

Shortly before the ceasefire commenced, the IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel discovered under Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, as well as completed its deployment on the ceasefire lines.

In a statement, it says the 36th Division and soldiers of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit destroyed the tunnel under Shifa, as well as other entrances in the area.

The IDF says that over the last day, up until the 7 a.m. truce, it continued to strike Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip, searched for the terror group’s infrastructure, and clashed with operatives.

In the last hour, the IDF says it has completed its “operational deployment on the truce lines.”

A video published by the IDF shows the tunnel at Shifa being destroyed, as well as several other recent strikes in Gaza.

Israel insists truce deal includes Red Cross visits to remaining Gaza hostages

Israel continues to insist the ceasefire deal with Hamas includes a commitment on all sides to enable Red Cross staff to visit the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza who are not slated for immediate release.

According to a senior diplomatic source quoted by Hebrew media, the agreement’s guarantors, Qatar, the United States and Egypt, are all committed to the deal’s implementation in full.

Yesterday, Qatar and the Red Cross refused to say whether the visits are included in the deal brokered between Israel and Hamas.

IDF drops flyers telling Gazans not to return to Strip’s north as it’s still a war zone

The IDF has dropped flyers over Gaza warning residents not to return to their homes in the Strip’s north since the area is still a war zone, despite a four-day ceasefire that has commenced.

Palestinian officials have been calling on displaced Gazans to return to their homes once the truce begins.

The IDF spokesperson in Arabic, Avichay Adraee, has similarly issued a statement telling Gazans the war is not over.

Rocket alarms sound in Gaza border towns 15 minutes after ceasefire comes into effect

Rocket sirens blare in the evacuated Gaza border area towns of Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha in southern Israel.

The alarms come 15 minutes after a four-day ceasefire commenced, meaning that if projectiles were indeed launched, it appears to be the first violation of the truce by Gazan terror groups.

Four-day ceasefire kicks in as nation holds breath for first release of hostages at 4 p.m.

IDF soldiers work on armored military vehicles along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, November 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
IDF soldiers work on armored military vehicles along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, November 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

With the clock striking 7 a.m., the four-day truce brokered by Qatar between Israel and Hamas has come into effect.

The hours leading up to the temporary ceasefire saw rocket sirens triggered in Israeli towns bordering Gaza and reports of intense IDF shelling throughout Gaza, as the army looked to advance its mission against Hamas as much as possible in the final hours before the pause.

At 4 p.m., 13 hostages held in Gaza will be freed, followed by an undefined number of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, according to Qatari mediators.

Over the next four days, at least 50 women and children are slated to be released, leaving an estimated 190 in the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

Over the same period, 150 Palestinian prisoners — mostly women and minors, some convicted of attempted murder — are expected to be released.

The deal incentivizes additional hostage releases, with Israel agreeing to an additional day of a truce for every ten additional hostages released by Hamas.

The deal will also enable an influx of fuel and humanitarian supplies to Gaza during the pause, which would be the first cessation of fighting since Hamas sparked the war nearly seven weeks ago when its terrorists rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, massacring some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking 240 hostages.

IDF reportedly intensifying shelling throughout Gaza overnight as truce approaches

IDF soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

With hours to go until the multi-day truce kicks in at 7 a.m., IDF troops have been carrying out intense shelling of terror targets throughout the night across the Gaza Strip, the Kan public broadcaster reports, citing Palestinian media.

The IDF strikes have been targeting the Jabalia, Nuseirat and al-Maghazi refugee camps in northern Gaza while exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen have been reported in nearby Beit Lehia.

Hamas says war death toll has climbed to 14,532 — with over 300 killed in last day

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed building of the Muharib family in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza on November 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed building of the Muharib family in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza on November 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The Hamas government media office in Gaza has updated its death toll from the war to 14,854, with 322 more people killed in the last day.

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 roughly 36,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the 48 days of fighting and that 7,000 Palestinians — mostly women and children — are missing, some possibly under building rubble.

Rocket sirens triggered in Gaza border towns two hours before truce set to kick in

Illustrative: Israelis run to take cover in a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza strip, in Ashkelon, Oct. 8, 2023 (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Illustrative: Israelis run to take cover in a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza strip, in Ashkelon, Oct. 8, 2023 (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Two hours before the multi-day truce is set to kick in, air raid sirens have been triggered in communities near the border with Gaza.

There are no immediate reports of impact, damage or injuries.

Many of the towns in the immediate vicinity of Gaza have been emptied of residents since the October 7 massacre.

80 aid trucks enter Gaza on Thursday as assistance continues to lag behind set goals

An Egyptian fuel truck waits on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the southern Gaza Strip, November 15, 2023 (AFP)
An Egyptian fuel truck waits on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the southern Gaza Strip, November 15, 2023 (AFP)

Just 80 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah Crossing as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says, as the amount of assistance continues to lag behind goals set by international agencies.

Before the war’s outbreak, roughly 500 trucks of aid were entering Gaza each day.

The UN set an initial goal of 100 trucks a day that has only been met several times since aid first started being allowed in on October 21.

The US and other international brokers have said the number of trucks needs to reach well over 100 in order to address the exponentially growing need.

But while Israel agreed in its hostage deal with Hamas to allow at least 200 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza for every day of the multi-day truce, the current aid delivery mechanisms the IDF has in place are unlikely to enable this much-needed increase in assistance, two Biden administration officials have told The Times of Israel.

In addition to the trucks of aid, 75,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Thursday, in line with the November 18 Israeli decision to allow two trucks of fuel into the Strip each day to assist with food distribution, the operation of generators at hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, shelters and other critical services, UNOCHA says.

In addition, 433 dual and foreign nationals managed to exit the Strip through Rafah on Thursday, along with 17 wounded and sick people who are being treated in Egypt.

103 Gaza residents with Russian nationality leave for Moscow

Some 103 residents of the Gaza Strip who also hold Russian nationality were evacuated from the Palestinian enclave and are headed for Moscow on a special flight from Egypt today, Reuters reports, citing Russia’s emergencies ministry.

In a post on Telegram, the ministry said 101 Russian nationals from Gaza arrived in Egypt in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of Russian evacuees to over 750. Some 650 have been flown to Russia, at least half of them children.

Lull in Gaza fighting set for 7 a.m., first group of 13 hostages to be freed at 4 p.m.

The first pause in the almost seven-week war in Gaza initiated by Hamas in response to its October 7 atrocities is expected to start at 7 a.m. this morning, if all goes according to plan.

Nine hours later, the first group of 13 hostages kidnapped from Israel on October 7 and held by Hamas in Gaza will be freed, according to the agreement which officials have touted but with caveats about possible hurdles or curveballs.

Israel has a list of the first 13 hostages out of 50 set to be released over the course of the four-day pause in fighting in Gaza, after which Israel has vowed to resume military operations in full force. Israel will also release 150 Palestinian prisoners, females and minors.

Israel said the temporary truce could be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed by the terrorists.

Authorities have developed a set protocol for treating the freed hostages, as Israelis brace for difficult days ahead.

Egypt: 130,000 liters of fuel, 200 trucks of aid to enter Gaza daily during pause

Egypt says some 200 trucks of humanitarian aid, 130,000 liters of diesel and four trucks of gas will enter the Gaza Strip daily once the temporary lull in fighting goes into effect at 7a.m. on Friday. It is part of a highly anticipated hostage-and-truce deal that will see a total of 50 Israeli hostages, women and children, freed by Hamas over a four-day ceasefire and the release by Israel of 150 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas and other terror factions abducted some 240 people from Israel on October 7 when thousands of terrorists rampaged through southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians in their homes and at an outdoor music festival amid shocking brutality. Many of the terrorists wore cameras and gleefully streamed their atrocities.

Egypt and Qatar helped mediate the negotiations. According to the deal, the truce will last four days and hostages will be released in groups each day. The first group of 13 is set for release at 4p.m. Friday, according to the Qataris.

Cuban president leads pro-Palestinian march in front of US embassy in Havana

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, center, and his wife Lis Cuesta march during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, center, and his wife Lis Cuesta march during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters, led by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, marched in Havana today in front of the US embassy calling to “free Palestine” and accusing Israel of “genocide.”

The rare march was the first of its kind in about a decade, as the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro was known for staging similar demonstrations to protest the US before his death in 2016, Reuters noted.

Communist-run Cuba has been a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause and does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Israeli jets hit Hezbollah rocket launchers in Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets have struck a number of rocket launcher sites in Lebanon, in response to fire directed at northern Israel earlier in the day.

The army says its air strikes destroyed launchers belonging to the Hezbollah terror group used in attacks against Israel in recent days, as well as “military sites” used by the group.

The IDF releases footage showing its strikes.

At least 80 rockets, missiles, and mortars were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel in a series of Hezbollah salvos Thursday that marked one of the terror group’s most wide-ranging attacks since October 7.

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