US President Joe Biden said Sunday he hopes the four-day truce would be extended to provide for the entry of critical aid into Gaza and the release of additional hostages.
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):
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023
10:44 pm: US military says two Houthi missiles fired toward US ship in Gulf of Aden
Two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward a US warship aiding a vessel that had been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, according to the US Central Command. In a post on X, CENTCOM said the missiles landed in the water around 10 nautical miles from the USS Mason. The US warship had earlier responded to a distress call from a commercial vessel, saying it was under attack by armed militants.
“Upon arrival, coalition elements demanded release of the vessel. Subsequently, five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat. The MASON pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender,” CENTCOM said, adding that no damage or injuries were reported from either incident.
The Iran-backed Houthis have claimed responsibility for a series of missile and drone attacks on Israel since the war in the Gaza Strip erupted last month. Earlier this month, the Houthi rebels seized what they claimed was an Israeli-linked vessel in the Red Sea, warning that any ships that deal with Israel were “legitimate targets.”
5:00 pm: Biden announces release of four-year-old US hostage
A four-year-old American girl is safely in Israel after being released Sunday from captivity in Gaza, US President Joe Biden said as he urged the pause in Israel-Hamas fighting to be extended to allow for more hostage releases.
"She's free and she's in Israel now," Biden told reporters shortly after the Israeli army announced that 17 hostages were being freed by Hamas.
"She's been through a terrible trauma," Biden said of the child, Abigail, whose parents were murdered by Hamas militants when members of the Islamist group attacked Israel on Oct. 7. On Friday, she marked her fourth birthday in captivity, the president said.
3:00 pm: UN says 61 trucks deliver aid in northern Gaza
The United Nations on Saturday said 61 trucks carrying medical supplies, food and water had delivered their payloads in northern Gaza, as a pause in fighting allows aid to enter the besieged coastal territory.
Another 200 trucks had been dispatched to the Gaza Strip from Nitzana, Israel, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement, with 187 of them having made it past the border by early evening local time, AFP reported.
2:00 pm: Pressure mounts on Israel for longer Gaza pause
Israel faces mounting pressure to extend a four-day pause in its war against Hamas, but military officials fear that a longer truce risks blunting its efforts to rout the Islamist movement, AFP reported.
After hours of delay and acrimony that underscored the fragility of the truce, a second tranche of 13 Israeli hostages was freed on Saturday by Hamas in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners — the same number as the previous day.
11:00 am: Red Cross receives third group of hostages to be released
Israeli military officials confirmed today that the International Committee of the Red Cross had received the third group of hostages to be handed over as part of the hostage-prisoner exchange deal, including 13 Israelis and four foreign nationals.
9:30 am: Eight Palestinians killed in West Bank in past 24 hours
The Palestinian Health Ministry announced Sunday that eight Palestinians had been killed by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank over the past 24 hours. The situation in the occupied territories remains tense amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict.
According to the ministry statement, five of the eight were killed in Jenin during an Israeli military raid. Two others were killed in the town of Yatma in Nablus governorate in the northern West Bank, while one was killed in the town of al-Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah. A total of 240 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since Oct. 7.
5:30 am: Hamas’ top commander in northern Gaza killed
Hamas announced on Sunday the death of its top commander Ahmed al-Ghandour, the highest-ranking Hamas figure to die in the war thus far.
In a statement posted on Telegram Sunday, Hamas’ military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassem Brigades, confirmed that Ghandour and several other leaders — including Ayman Siam, Wael Rajab and Raafat Salman — had died in the fighting following the group’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. The statement did not provide information on the cause or date of their deaths.
4:21 am: UN says 248 aid trucks have entered Gaza since start of four-day truce
The United Nations announced that 248 trucks carrying humanitarian aid had reached the Gaza Strip since the agreement on a four-day pause in fighting went into effect on Friday morning.
According to the UN statement, 61 of the trucks delivered medical equipment, food and water to the northern Gaza Strip, which has been hardest hit by the Israeli bombardment.
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