A hostage deal will reportedly free 13 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for 39 Palestinian women and minors in Israeli custody, a temporary cease-fire and pauses in drone surveillance.
Rina Bassist, Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, 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.
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Live updates (all times EDT):
Friday, Nov. 24, 2023
12:50 pm: Israel government publishes list of freed hostages
Israel's government has published a list of the names and ages of the freed Israel hostages today:
Doron Katz-Asher, 34
Raz Asher, 4
Aviv Asher, 2
Daniel Aloni, 45
Amelia Aloni, 5
Ruth Munder, 78
Keren Monder, 54
Ohad Monder, 9
Adina Moshe, 72
Hana Katzir, 76
Margalit Mozes, 77
Hanna Perry, 79
Yaffe Adar, 85
12:40 pm: Israel releases first Palestinian prisoners
International Red Cross buses have been seen at Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank to transport the 39 Palestinian prisoners who are expected to be freed today.
The prisoners include 24 women, including some convicted of attempted murder for attacks on Israeli security forces, and 15 teenagers jailed for offenses such as throwing stones.
12:10 pm: IDF says Israeli hostages inside Israel
The Israeli hostages are now inside Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces has said.
The hostages are with special forces completing a medical assessment before they will be transported to Israeli hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families.
"The Israel Defense Forces salutes and embraces the released hostages upon their return home," the IDF said in a statement.
"The IDF, together with the entire Israeli security establishment, will continue operating until all the hostages are returned home."
10:40 am: Israel rebukes Spain, Belgium over Egypt press conference
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it will summon the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium after the prime ministers of both countries said at a press conference at the Egypt Rafah crossing that the current cease-fire in Gaza is not enough and that a permanent one was needed.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also claimed that Israel is violating international law by carrying out indiscriminate killings in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he condemned both leaders for not putting full responsibility on Hamas for the crimes against Israeli nationals and for using Palestinians as human shields.
10:14 am: Freed Thai hostages in Israeli territory
Twelve Thai nationals who had been held hostage in Gaza were released Friday afternoon and are now in Israeli territory, reported Haaretz.
Israeli broadcaster Kan said the 12 Thai nationals are expected to be taken to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Be'er Ya'akov, southeast of Tel Aviv, within an hour. Kan also reports that the 13 Israeli hostages included in the Qatar-mediated deal were released and are now on Egyptian soil to be taken soon to Israel.
9:36 am: Israeli media reports hostages transferred to Red Cross agents in Gaza
Israel’s public broadcaster Kan quoted two unnamed Israeli officials as confirming that the 13 Israeli hostages set to be freed today have been handed over by Hamas to Red Cross agents in Gaza. Similar reports were published by Egyptian media. Israel has not yet confirmed the news officially.
8:53 am: Thailand says 12 nationals freed by Hamas
Twelve Thai hostages captured Oct. 7 by Hamas and held in Gaza have been liberated. Staff of the Thai Embassy in Egypt are on their way to meet them, said Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, without offering any further details. Last week, a Thai official said that his government had been given assurances by Hamas that 25 of its nationals held hostage by Hamas were safe and could be released in the coming days.
7:16 am: Palestinian president, UK foreign secretary meet to discuss Gaza war
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hosted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who is visiting the region amid the Hamas-Israel war. Meeting in Ramallah, the two officials discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, with Abbas calling “for an immediate cessation of the all-out Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank,” reported WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency. Cameron, who visited Israel the day before, announced earlier on Friday as a temporary truce went into effect that Britain is contributing 30 million pounds ($37.38 million) in humanitarian aid to Gaza.
7:00 am: Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians returning to northern Gaza
Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians and wounded 11 others as they headed for northern Gaza in light of the temporary cease-fire, according to the Associated Press. The Israeli army dropped fliers in southern Gaza, warning people against returning to their homes in the north. Israel has been engaged in a major ground offensive in the north to eliminate Hamas.
2:48 am: Israel starts process of releasing Palestinian prisoners
The Israel Prison Service received a list of 39 female and under-19 Palestinians who will be released from Israeli jails as part of the deal with Hamas that will also see 13 Israeli hostages released from Gaza, reported the Times of Israel. A statement issued by the IPS said the process for the release of the Palestinian prisoners had started. They will first be transferred from Ofer Prison in the West Bank to the Bitunia checkpoint, where they will be released.
1:48 am: Aid trucks enter Gaza via Rafah crossing
Several trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel have entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing shortly after a four-day truce between Hamas and Israel entered into effect, according to officials and media reports. A spokesperson for the Rafah crossing administration confirmed the entry of aid in a press statement and also said that 230 trucks are expected to make their way into Gaza today. The Israeli army said in a post on X that four fuel tankers and four tankers of cooking gas were delivered to humanitarian organizations inside Gaza via the Rafah crossing. The truce, the first since the war erupted on Oct.7, has brought some relief to millions of Palestinians who have been trapped inside the besieged enclave under intense Israeli bombardment.
12:00 am: Four-day temporary truce in Gaza begins
The Qatari-mediated four-day truce between Israel and Hamas entered into effect. The release of 13 hostages held in Gaza is expected to take place at 4:00 p.m. local time, followed by an undefined number of Palestinian prisoners being freed from Israeli jails.
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