Tags: israel | hamas | war | live updates

2 Israeli Hostages Released After Israel, Hamas Extend Cease-fire

Thursday, 30 November 2023 10:57 AM EST

A temporary cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war has been extended another day, according to mediator Qatar. The announcement Thursday morning came minutes before the cease-fire was set to expire.

Hamas released two Israeli women from captivity several hours later, Israel's military said.

Israel had agreed to extend the truce by one day for every 10 militant-held hostages who are freed. The cease-fire, which began Nov. 24 and was originally set to expire on Monday, has paused the deadliest fighting between Israel and Palestinians in decades.

Israel has vowed to resume the war in an effort to end Hamas' 16-year rule of Gaza, but it's facing mounting international pressure to spare southern Gaza a devastating ground offensive like the one that has demolished much of the north.

Roughly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza, which doesn't differentiate between civilians and combatants. About 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas.

— Truce in Israel-Hamas war is extended by a day, minutes before it was set to expire.

— Jake Sullivan says the White House is not seeking conditions on military aid to Israel, despite Biden's comment.

— Israel compares Hamas to the Islamic State group. But the comparison misses the mark in key ways.

— U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer warns that antisemitism is on the rise as he pushes for Israel aid.

— A friendship forged over 7 weeks of captivity lives on.

Here’s what's happening in the war:

The Israeli military said Thursday that two Israeli hostages were released from captivity in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the army said the Red Cross had transferred the two women to Israeli forces. They were to be taken to an Israeli military base.

The two hostages are among a larger group of Israelis expected to be released Thursday as part of the latest extension of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israel was to free some 30 Palestinian prisoners later Thursday.

TEL AVIV, Israel — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is reminding Israeli leaders of the need for Israel to comply with international law as it prosecutes it war against Hamas in Gaza.

Blinken also said it is imperative that Israel take great care to avoid civilian casualties if it starts major military operations in southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter after fleeing their homes in the northern part of the territory.

He said the U.S. places great importance on the resumption of a peace process that would eventually lead to the creation of a Palestinian state, something that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes.

Speaking Thursday just hours after Israel and Hamas agreed at the last minute to a third extension of their cease-fire agreement, Blinken told Netanyahu that the U.S. will continue "support for Israel’s right to protect itself from terrorist violence in compliance with international humanitarian law and urged Israel to take every possible measure to avoid civilian harm," the State Department said.

The message aligned with the Biden administration's shifting rhetoric on the war, which began as a full-throated embrace of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks but gradually tempered as the number of Palestinian civilian casualties began to rise, prompting widespread international criticism.

To prevent a further exponential increase in civilian casualties, Blinken "stressed the imperative of accounting for humanitarian and civilian protection needs in southern Gaza before any military operations there and urged immediate steps to hold settler extremists accountable for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank," the State Department said Blinken told Netanyahu.

Blinken met with Netanyahu and his war Cabinet in Jerusalem before traveling to the occupied West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli army has confirmed that Ofir Tzarfati, an Israeli believed to be held hostage in Gaza, is dead.

Tzarfati was thought to be among the approximately 240 people taken hostage by Hamas on October 7. He had been celebrating his 27th birthday at a music festival with his girlfriend when Hamas militants stormed into Israel and killed at least 364 people at the festival and kidnapped many others.

Tzarfati’s family was originally unclear what happened to him, but a few weeks later, the army notified the family that they believed that Tzarfati was being held in Gaza, according to media reports.

The army did not specify where Tzarfati’s body was identified

TEL AVIV, Israel — Two gunman opened fire on a crowded bus station at the entrance of Jerusalem, killing at least three people and wounding several others, according to Jerusalem police.

"The bus station was very crowded, which is why so many people were wounded," said Magen David Adom spokesperson Zaki Heller told Army Radio. According to police, the two gunmen drove toward the bus stop armed with a handgun and an M16 rifle and opened fire. Both were killed at the scene by two soldiers who were near the bus stop.

Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman said police believe both attackers were from east Jerusalem. It was unclear if the attack was carried out by a Palestinian militant group or individuals acting on their own, or if it would have any impact on the truce in Gaza.

One 24-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene and another man died later at the hospital.

A year ago, a bomb exploded at the same bus stop, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding 18.

JERUSALEM — Israel and Hamas agreed to extend a temporary truce by another day just minutes before it was set to expire, said Qatar, which has been mediating between the two sides.

The truce was set to expire Thursday morning. Negotiations on extending it came down to the wire, with last-minute disagreements over the hostages to be freed by Hamas in exchange for another day of a halt in fighting.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry said the truce was being extended under the same terms as in the past, under which Hamas has released 10 Israeli hostages per day in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners.

Israel released another group of Palestinian prisoners early Thursday in exchange for 16 hostages freed hours earlier by the Islamic militant group Hamas in Gaza.

A bus carrying some of the Palestinian detainees arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah before dawn. The releases came on the sixth day of a temporary truce in the Israel-Hamas war.

Most prominent among those freed was 22-year-old Ahed Tamimi, an activist who gained worldwide fame in 2017 after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier went viral on social media.

Israeli troops arrested her at her West Bank home on Nov. 6 for "inciting to terrorism" on her Instagram account. Her mother said Tamimi’s account had been hacked.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

A temporary cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war has been extended another day, according to mediator Qatar. The announcement Thursday morning came minutes before the cease-fire was set to expire.
israel, hamas, war, live updates
Thursday, 30 November 2023 10:57 AM
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