Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns landed in Doha Tuesday for fresh talks aimed at expanding the current hostage deal beyond older women, mothers and children.
Mossad chief David Barnea and Egyptian General Intelligence head Abbas Kamel also traveled to Doha for the talks with Qatari officials, who have served as key interlocutors between Hama and the United States and Israel in recent weeks.
This summit comes after Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that a deal had been reached to extend the Israel-Hamas truce by two days to allow more hostages to be released and more aid to enter the Gaza Strip. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also set to travel to Israel and the West Bank later this week to push for a broader deal.
Meanwhile, the US military will fly three planes carrying humanitarian aid including food, medical supplies and winter gear into North Sinai for delivery to the enclave, where 1.7 million people have been displaced since the war began. The first plane is set to land today. Washington has communicated to Israel that it expects the current level of aid entering Gaza to be maintained even after the temporary cease-fire ends, Axios reported Tuesday.
According to the initial agreement backed by Israel’s government, the truce can last for up to 10 days before the Israeli military will resume fighting. Israel Defense Forces chief Herzi Halevi said in a statement from northern Israel Tuesday that the IDF is ready to continue its military campaign in Gaza, adding, “We are using the days of truce as part of the agreement for learning, strengthening readiness, and approving the operational plans for the duration.”
Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Rina Bassist, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.
Live updates (all times EDT):
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023
11:45 am: Truce extension buys both Israel, Hamas time
In a rare convergence of interests, the truce extension between Israel and Hamas buys both Benjamin Netanyahu and militant group chief Yahya Sinwar much-needed time. Al-Monitor’s Ben Caspit reports.
10:00 am: Israel says three explosive devices detonate in northern Gaza
Three explosive devices were detonated in two locations in the northern Gaza Strip near Israeli military forces in an apparent breach of the Qatar-mediated temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Tuesday. In one of the cases, shots were also fired at Israeli forces, mildly wounding some of the troops. Hagari said that in both cases, the Israeli troops were located within the parameters laid out in the truce. Hamas’ military wing said the attack was a response to a “clear violation” of the cease-fire by Israeli forces in northern Gaza, though it provided no further details.
6:42 am: Israeli, US intelligence chiefs meet with Qatari PM
The directors of Israel's Mossad and the US Central Intelligence Agency met with Qatar’s prime minister in Doha to discuss a possible second extension of a truce in the Gaza Strip, Reuters and Axios reported. Egyptian officials also attended the meeting, according to a source briefed on the visit who spoke to Reuters. A temporary cease-fire between Hamas and Israel continued on Tuesday after it was extended by two days to allow for the release of more hostages and Palestinian prisoners.
5:00 am: US planes carry Gaza aid to Egypt
The first of three US military planes carrying aid to the Gaza Strip is set to land in Egypt on Tuesday, a senior administration official told reporters, adding that the other two relief flights will arrive in North Sinai “in the coming days.” The flights carrying medical items, food aid and winter gear were facilitated by the US military and the goods will be delivered to Gaza via the United Nations. The aid deliveries come amid a temporary pause in the fighting between Hamas and Israel.
4:15 am: Qatar sends 31 tons of aid to Gaza
A plane belonging to Qatar’s armed forces headed to Egypt’s El-Arish carrying 31 tons of aid, including food supplies, to be transported to the Gaza Strip, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced in a statement. Qatar has sent a total of 910 tons of aid aboard 27 planes to Gaza since the opening of the Rafah border crossing in mid-October. The latest delivery comes after Hamas and Israel agreed to extend a truce in Gaza for a fifth day under Qatari, Egyptian and US mediation.
3:30 am: Death toll in West Bank rises to 240 since Oct. 7
At least 240 Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with Israeli forces in the West Bank since the Hamas-Israel war erupted in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, the Ramallah Ministry of Health said in a press release. Israel has intensified its raids and arrests in West Bank cities and towns in efforts to prevent a new front from opening. Earlier on Tuesday, two Palestinians including a 17-year-old were killed in clashes that erupted during an Israeli raid in the village of Kafr Ein, west of Ramallah, the official WAFA news agency said.
1:50 am: Israel informs families of upcoming hostage releases
Families of hostages held in Gaza due for release on Tuesday were informed by Israeli authorities that their relatives were being freed, hours after the government received and verified the list of names. 10 hostages are set to be released on the first extended day of the Qatar-mediated truce between Hamas and Israel in exchange for the release out of 30 Palestinians from Israeli jails. Another 10 Israeli hostages are expected to be released on Wednesday.
Monday, Nov. 27, 2023
4:45 pm: Blinken to visit Israel and West Bank
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel this week to Israel and the West Bank to discuss humanitarian assistance to Gaza, the release of all hostages and protections for Palestinian civilians, a senior State Department official said.
From there, Blinken will travel to Dubai to attend the United Nations' annual climate conference, COP28. The top US diplomat is currently in Brussels for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
4:00 pm: 11 Israeli hostages freed from Gaza, arrive in Israel
Eleven hostages including nine children and two women held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip are now in Israeli territory, the Israeli military said in a statement, adding, “After they undergo an initial medical assessment of their health, our forces will accompany them until they are reunited with their families.”
The freed children are aged 3 to 18 years old. Five fathers of the children freed Monday evening are still being held captive. Israel and Hamas have agreed to prolong the temporary truce by two more days.
2:15 pm: Who are the three Palestinian students shot in Vermont?
A man pleaded not guilty on Monday after being charged with shooting three Palestinian university students in Burlington, Vermont over the weekend. The students, two of whom are US citizens, were visiting family in the city and have been hospitalized. Hatred toward Arabs, Muslims and Jews is rising in the United States amid the Israel-Hamas war and authorities are investigating whether the incident constituted a hate crime, Adam Lucente reports.
2:10 pm: Fourth hostage release begins
The fourth release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip is “underway,” said the spokesperson of the Israeli military, Daniel Hagari. He did not specify what stage the hostage transfer has reached.
11:30 am: How risky is US-Houthi escalation after Navy thwarts tanker hijacking?
Two ballistic missiles launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen landed roughly 10 nautical miles from a US Navy destroyer after it thwarted the attempted hijacking of an Israeli-linked commercial tanker ship in the Gulf of Aden, the US military said on Sunday. Jared Szuba explains the significance of this escalation.
11:28 am: Qatar announces two-day extension in truce
With the four-day pause in fighting set to expire early Tuesday, Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced that an agreement had been reached to extend the deal by two days. Qatar, alongside Egypt and the United States, has been brokering negotiations between Hamas and Israel.
“The State of Qatar announces, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari wrote in a post on X.
10:00 am: As Israel’s economy slows, investors ask how long Hamas war will go on
In the month since Hamas attacked civilians in southern Israel and the Israeli government invaded the Gaza Strip in response, foreign investors have faced complicated decisions about how to manage their exposure to the Jewish state. Harry Clynch reports.
6:26 am: NATO chief calls for extension of temporary truce
"I welcome that the agreement between Hamas and Israel has led to the release of hostages and the delivery of more humanitarian aid. I call for an extension of the pause. This would allow for much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the release of more hostages," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Speaking to reporters ahead of the meetings of NATO ministers of foreign affairs in Brussels, Stoltenberg also noted that Iran should rein in its proxies in the region.
5:31 pm: Elon Musk meets with Netanyahu in Israel
Owner of X social media platform Elon Musk arrived in Israel Monday and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the main theaters of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, read a statement issued by the Israeli premier’s office. Musk’s visit will include a filmed conversation with Netanyahu, a meeting with war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and a meeting with President Isaac Herzog. The office of the president said representatives of families of hostages held by Hamas will join the meeting and that the president will ask Musk to take action against antisemitism on X.
2:56 am: Israel, Hamas raise concerns over names of those to be released
Israel and Hamas have both expressed concerns over the names of the fourth batch of hostages and prisoners to be released on Monday, an official briefed on the matter told Reuters. “There is a slight issue with today’s lists. The Qataris are working with both sides to resolve it and avoid delays,” the official said, without adding more details. Since a four-day truce began in Gaza on Friday, Hamas has freed 58 people it had taken hostage during its cross border attack Oct. 7, while Israel released 117 Palestinian prisoners held in its jails. The swap deal comes under a Qatari-mediated agreement reached last week.
1:30 am: Israel receives list for fourth hostage release
Israel has received the list of 11 hostages set to be released Monday, confirmed the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that the list is currently being verified. Hamas has so far freed 39 hostages in three groups over the past three days. The deal that was originally struck between Israel and Hamas included the release of 50 Israeli hostages over a four-day period in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners.