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Hamas must track down missing hostages to extend truce, Qatar says

An Israeli helicopter lands at Tel Aviv's Schneider hospital with freed hostages on board
An Israeli helicopter lands at Tel Aviv's Schneider hospital with freed hostages on board - Christophe Petit

Hamas needs to track down dozens of hostages in Gaza before it can extend the current ceasefire, Qatar’s prime minister has said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Financial Times that Hamas cannot agree an extension to the current ceasefire until it locates 40 women and children who are allegedly being held by civilians, gangs and other Islamist groups.

“We don’t yet have any clear information how many they can find because . . . one of the purposes [of the pause] is they [Hamas] will have time to search for the rest of the missing people,” he said.

Hamas has told Qatar that it did not capture any civilians on October 7, instead blaming it on other Islamist groups and opportunistic Palestinian civilians.

Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will extend the current four-day ceasefire by one day for every 10 additional hostages that are released.

But the Qatari prime minister’s comments will cast doubt on whether Hamas can provide the hostages necessary to keep its side of the bargain.


10:01 PM GMT

Thank you for following the blog

That’s it for our live coverage of the war in Gaza today. Join us again tomorrow for all the latest.


10:00 PM GMT

Today’s headlines:

  • Five senior Hamas commanders were killed by Israeli forces

  • Boris Johnson and his family were among hundreds of thousands who attended an anti-Semitism march in London

  • Hamas released 13 Israelis, three Thais and one Russian-Israeli

  • Those freed included Abigail Idan, 4, an American-Israeli whose parents were murdered on October 7

  • Elma Avraham, 84, was airlifted to hospital and is said to be “very sick”

  • Israel released 39 prisoners from its jails in exchange for the 17 hostages

  • The US said the Red Cross will visit all hostages who are not being released

  • Joe Biden said he wanted to extend the ceasefire

  • Benjamin Netanyahu said he would do so by one day for every 10 new hostages released

  • Qatar said Hamas does not know where many hostages are


09:43 PM GMT

Ceasefire will be extended if more hostages released, Netanyahu tells Biden

Benjamin Netanyahu has told Joe Biden that he is open to extending Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas if it agrees to release more hostages.

“For every day, another 10,” the Israeli prime minister said after a call between the two leaders this evening.

The original Qatari-brokered deal allows the ceasefire to be extended by one day for every 10 extra hostages that are released.

The White House said the two leaders agreed during the call to “continue working to secure the release of all hostages”.


09:26 PM GMT

Hamas does not know where hostages are, Qatar says

Hamas will only be able to agree to an extended ceasefire with Israel if it finds out where other hostages are being held, Qatar’s prime minister has said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Financial Times that there are 40 more women and children being held in Gaza by civilians, gangs and groups, not Hamas.

“If they get additional women and children, there will be an extension,” he said. “We don’t yet have any clear information how many they can find because . . . one of the purposes [of the pause] is they [Hamas] will have time to search for the rest of the missing people.”

Sheikh Mohammed said Hamas has told Qatar that its fighters did not capture civilians on October 7, blaming those abductions on other militant groups and opportunistic Palestinian civilians.


09:10 PM GMT

All 17 freed hostages have arrived at hospitals, reports CNN

CNN is reporting that all 17 hostages released to Israel today have now arrived at hospitals.

They will undergo tests and check-ups and be reunited with their families.

A young hostage is seen through the window of a helicopter arriving at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital
A young hostage is seen through the window of a helicopter arriving at Tel Aviv's Schneider children's hospital - Gil Cohen-Magen

09:08 PM GMT

Israel was not responsible for Al Ahli explosion, Human Rights Watch says

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said a misfired Palestinian rocket and not an Israeli air strike was to blame for the fiercely disputed explosion at Gaza’s Al Ahli hospital on October 17.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 471 people were killed in the blast, a figure which is disputed by Israel. A US intelligence report estimated the death toll “at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum”.

HRW said that a review of photos, videos, satellite imagery and testimony from experts and witnesses showed that the explosion “resulted from an apparent rocket-propelled munition, such as those commonly used by Palestinian armed groups”.

Hamas has rejected the findings, with senior official Basem Naim saying the report is “biased” towards Israel.


08:54 PM GMT

Watch: West Bank crowds welcome prisoner wearing Hamas bandana

Crowds in the West Bank city of Ramallah cheered and chanted as they welcomed a freed Palestinian prisoner with a green Hamas bandana tied around his head.

The man is one of 39 prisoners who were released by Israel today in exchange for the 17 hostages handed over by Hamas.


08:49 PM GMT

Helicopters arrive at Tel Aviv children's hospital

Two helicopters believed to be carrying freed hostages have landed at a Tel Aviv children’s hospital, US Correspondent David Millward reports.

The first aircraft arrived shortly before 8.30pm GMT (10.30pm local time) and the second landed at 8.45pm GMT (10.30pm local time).


08:42 PM GMT

Pictured: Hamas terrorists stand guard as hostages handed over

Hamas terrorists stand guard as they hand over hostages to the Red Cross
Hamas terrorists stand guard as they hand over hostages to the Red Cross

08:34 PM GMT

Thai hostages arrive at Tel Aviv hospital

The three Thai hostages who were released by Hamas today have arrived at the Assaf Harofeh hospital in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s foreign ministry said they will undergo physical and psychological tests at the hospital.

They will return to their families once they are discharged from hospital.


08:18 PM GMT

Netanyahu: Give us 10 extra hostages a day and we will extend truce

Benjamin Netanyahu has told Joe Biden that he would accept an extension to the temporary truce with Hamas if the terror group releases 10 additional hostages everyday.

The two leaders had a phone call this evening in which the Israeli prime minister also said Israel will resume its war in Gaza with full force when the truce ends.

The US president said earlier today that his goal is to keep the ceasefire going to get more hostages out of Gaza and more aid into it.


08:12 PM GMT

No words to express our relief, say Abigail Idan's family

The family of freed four-year-old Abigail Idan have “no words” to express their relief after she was released by Hamas, reports David Millward, US correspondent.

“We hoped and prayed today would come,” they said in a statement.

“There are no words to express our relief and gratitude that Abigail is safe and coming home”.

They also thanked Joe Biden and the Qatari government for their diplomatic assistance and added they continue to stand with families of all the hostages.

Mr Biden has spoken over the telephone with members of her family in the United States and Israel, his office said.


08:02 PM GMT

Pictured: Freed girls, 8 and 15, reunited with mother

This is the moment Dafna, 15, and Ela Elyakim, 8, were reunited this evening with their mother Maayan Zin.

The two sisters were with their father Noam in Nahal Oz, a kibbutz just 800 metres from the border with Gaza, when Hamas attacked on October 7.

Mr Elyakim was killed by the terrorists, possibly in front of their eyes.

Now after 51 days in captivity, the sisters have finally been reunited with their mother this evening after being released by Hamas.

Dafna Elyakim and Ela Elyakim are reunited with their mother Maayan Zin
Dafna Elyakim and Ela Elyakim are reunited with their mother Maayan Zin - Maayan Zin

07:55 PM GMT

Truce should be extended until all hostages released, says France

The truce between Israel and Hamas which has held in Gaza since Friday should be extended until all hostages are released, France’s foreign minister has said.

“We demand the release of our hostages and all the hostages,” Catherine Colonna told France’s BFMTV channel.

“It would be good, helpful and necessary for the truce to be extended to this end.”

She added: “There are lists drawn up during the negotiations through Qatar. Hamas makes its choices within these lists.”


07:38 PM GMT

Pictured: Freed hostages and those awaiting them

A boy believed to be Tal Goldstein-Almog, 9, is seen through the window of a van taking hostages to be reunited with their families
A boy believed to be Tal Goldstein-Almog, 9, is seen through the window of a van taking hostages to be reunited with their families - Menahem Kahana
Scouts wave Israeli flags as they wait outside the Schneider children's hospital in Tel Aviv for the freed hostages to arrive
Scouts wave Israeli flags as they wait outside the Schneider children's hospital in Tel Aviv for the freed hostages to arrive - Christophe Petit

07:27 PM GMT

I couldn't believe it when I saw Abigail coming home, says grandfather

The grandfather of released American-Israeli hostage Abigail Idan, 4, has said he could not believe his eyes when he saw she was coming back from captivity.

“It was just wow, I didn’t believe it until I saw it,” Carmel Idan told reporters outside his home.

“Now I’m calm, but not completely calm because there is happiness, but there is also the absence of Roee and Smadar.”

Abigail’s parents were murdered by Hamas terrorists at their home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7.


07:15 PM GMT

Hospitalised elderly hostage in 'life-threatening condition'

The elderly hostage who was airlifted to hospital after being released by Hamas is in a serious and life-threatening condition, Beersheba’s Soroka hospital has said.

It said in a short statement that she is in “poor physical condition and severe clinical condition”.

Elma Avraham, 84, was immediately taken to the hospital via helicopter when she was handed over to the IDF by the Red Cross, who acted as an intermediary.


07:00 PM GMT

Hamas wants to extend ceasefire

Hamas wants to extend the current ceasefire with Israel to secure the release of more prisoners, it said in a statement.

Fighting has been paused since Friday while Hamas releases hostages in exchange for Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons.

Hamas has released 53 hostages so far out of the approximately 240 it is thought to have taken in the October 7 attacks and Israel has released 117 prisoners.


06:52 PM GMT

In pictures: Hostages pictured on return to Israel

Oria Brodutch, 4, is seen inside a van transporting the freed hostages
Oria Brodutch, 4, is seen inside a van transporting the freed hostages - Amir Cohen
Unnamed hostages seen being transported in the convoy
Unnamed hostages seen being transported in the convoy - Tsafrir Abayov
Aviva Adrienne Siegel, 62, was abducted from kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7
Aviva Adrienne Siegel, 62, was abducted from kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7 - Amir Cohen

06:49 PM GMT

Freed hostages 'still traumatised', says cousin

Shiri Weiss, 53, and her daughter Noga, 18, who were freed on Saturday are still traumatised, David Millward, US Correspondent, reports.

Their cousin Adam Baker told CNN that there is also no news of Ilan Weiss, Noga’s father.

“There’s no body, there’s no official claim that he’s a hostage. That is worse than an open wound.”

Two other members of the family were murdered.

“I can only imagine it is going to be close to October 7 for them.

“It’s only the second chapter of the book, we don’t know how chapters it’s going to have get chapters it’s good to have not the end. It’s not the middle it’s just the beginning.”

Mr Baker added he had spoke to other cousins and Shiri and Noga “outwardly seemed fine”


06:47 PM GMT

Qatar's prime minister optimistic about extending ceasefire

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, is optimistic that the temporary truce could be extended, reports David Millward, US Correspondent.

“The agreement has a provision that if Hamas are... will be able to prove, to locate, and secure some of the hostages that are within the criteria of the first group, which is women and children, then it will be extended,” he said on CBS News Face the Nation.

“This is something we cannot confirm yet until we get to the fourth day, then Hamas should present the list if they are available with them,” he added.”


06:37 PM GMT

'Very sick' Israeli hostage rushed by helicopter to hospital

An elderly Israeli woman evacuated to hospital in a helicopter after being released by Hamas is “very sick”, Joe Biden has said.

“An older, non-American elderly woman is very sick and was in need of immediate medical help so they arranged to cross directly into Israel to be able to take her into hospital,” the US president said in a televised address.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the hostage, who has not been named, was “sent directly to hospital” after 13 Israelis were handed over by the Red Cross to Israeli soldiers.


06:30 PM GMT

Watch: Hundreds of Israelis cheer as hostages return

Hundreds of Israelis have lined roads to welcome hostages back from captivity, waving flags and cheering.

A convoy of vans is on its way to the Hatzerim airbase near Beersheba, where they will be reunited with their families.


06:02 PM GMT

Four other hostages now on Israeli soil

The three Thai and one Russian hostage who left Gaza via the Rafah crossing are now in Israel, the IDF has said.

It now means that all 17 hostages released today are back on Israeli soil.

“An elite unit of the IDF and a force of the Shin Bet are now escorting the four abductees in Israeli territory, including an Israeli citizen and three foreign nationals, who are at the Kerem Shalom crossing,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

“Those who return to Israel will be transferred directly to the hospitals.”


06:00 PM GMT

Watch: Biden celebrates the release of Abigail Mor Edan, 4


05:57 PM GMT

Israeli prison service: 39 prisoners freed

A total of 39 Palestinian prisoners have now been freed from Israel’s prisons as part of today’s hostage deal, the Israeli prison service has said.


05:44 PM GMT

AFP: Hamas willing to extend truce and release up to 40 more hostages

A source close to Hamas has said the terror group is willing to extend its truce with Israel in Gaza by “two to four days” and release “20 to 40” more hostages, the AFP news agency has reported.

“Hamas informed the mediators that the resistance movements were willing to extend the current truce by two to four days,” the source said.

“The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners.”


05:42 PM GMT

Grandfather of freed children hostages speaks of happiness

An Israeli grandfather whose daughter-in-law and three grandchildren were released by Hamas today has spoken of his happiness at the news.

Samuel Brodetz said he would meet Hagar, 40, Ofri, 10, Yuval, 8, and Uriya, 4, “later tonight.

“The moment I heard they were in the hands of the Red Cross, I was relieved... I will meet them later tonight,” he told Israel’s Channel 13 News.

“I am very happy, but I feel a great commitment to the other families until the last captive returns, including IDF soldiers.”


05:37 PM GMT

Biden: I want the ceasefire to continue

Joe Biden has said he wants to see the ceasefire that has allowed hostages to be released by Hamas to continue beyond tomorrow, when it is due to finish.

“Critically needed aid is going in and hostages are coming out,” he said in a televised address.

“This deal is structured so that it can be extended to keep building on these results.

“That’s my goal, that’s our goal, to keep this pause going beyond tomorrow so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into those in need in Gaza.”

Joe Biden speaks after the hostages were released
Joe Biden speaks after the hostages were released - Tom Brenner

05:32 PM GMT

Russian hostage Roni Krivoi arrives at Rafah

The freed Russian hostage Roni Krivoi has been pictured in a Red Cross vehicle at the Rafah border crossing after being released by Hamas.

Roni Krivoi, 25, was abducted by Hamas on October 7
Roni Krivoi, 25, was abducted by Hamas on October 7 - Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

05:30 PM GMT

We will not stop until every hostage freed, says Biden

Joe Biden has vowed to not stop working until every hostage has been freed.

“We will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones,” he said in a televised address.


05:14 PM GMT

Biden: I wish I was there to hold freed Abigail

Joe Biden has said he wishes he was “there to hold” freed four-year-old hostage Abigail Mor Idan.

“Thank God she’s home,” he said of the dual American-Israeli in a televised address.

“I guess [I] can’t imagine the enjoyment. I just wish I were there to hold her.”

He added: “What she endured is unthinkable.”

Abigail Idan pictured before being taken hostage
Abigail Idan pictured before being taken hostage

05:10 PM GMT

Pictured: Red Cross convoy at Rafah crossing

A Red Cross vehicle arrives at the Rafah border crossing
A Red Cross vehicle arrives at the Rafah border crossing - Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Four hostages are being taken to Israel from Gaza via the Rafah crossing
Four hostages are being taken to Israel from Gaza via the Rafah crossing - Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A hostage flashes a thumbs up as a Red Cross vehicle arrives in Rafah
A hostage flashes a thumbs up as a Red Cross vehicle arrives in Rafah - Mohammed Abed

05:03 PM GMT

Elderly hostage being treated in Beersheba

The Israeli hostage who has been evacuated by helicopter for medical attention will be treated at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, the hospital has said.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari has said the helicopter has now landed at the hospital.


05:01 PM GMT

Biden address begins

President Joe Biden’s address has now started.


04:50 PM GMT

Russian hostage named by Israeli media

The Russian national released by Hamas today has been named by Israeli media.

Roni Krovoi, a 25-year-old dual Russian-Israeli national, was working at the Supernova music festival when he was kidnapped on October 7.

Roni Krivoi was abducted by Hamas terrorists at the October 7 Supernova desert rave
Roni Krivoi was abducted by Hamas terrorists at the October 7 Supernova desert rave

04:49 PM GMT

Biden expected to speak at 5pm GMT

Joe Biden is expected to make a televised address at 5pm GMT.


04:48 PM GMT

Hostages are now in Israel

The IDF has said 13 hostages have returned to Israel and four more are en route.

Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: “An elite unit of the IDF and a force of the Shin Bet are now escorting the 12 abductees back to Israel to the Hatzeri base in Israel.

“Another civilian landed in the hospital a short time ago.

“At the same time, four more abductees are on their way to the Rafah crossing.”


04:42 PM GMT

American girl, 4, handed over by Hamas

An American four-year-old girl is among more than a dozen hostages who have been handed over to the Red Cross by Hamas, Israeli media have reported.

Abigail Mor Idan celebrated her fourth birthday on Friday in Hamas captivity after her parents were murdered in the October 7 attacks.


04:17 PM GMT

Israeli TV names 13 hostages being released

These are the 13 Israelis who are being released by Hamas today, Israeli TV station i24 has said.

  • Hagar Brodutch, 40

  • Ofry Bodutch, 10

  • Yuval Brodutch, 8

  • Oria Brodutch, 4

  • Chen Goldstein-Almog, 49

  • Agam Goldstein-Almog, 17

  • Gal Goldstein-Almog, 11

  • Tal Goldstein-Almog, 9

  • Abigail Idan, 4

  • Elma Avraham, 84

  • Aviva Siegal, 62

  • Dafna Elyakim, 14

  • Ela Elyakim, 8

Top L-R: Hagar Brodutch and children Ofri, Yuval and Oriya, Roni Krivoi; middle: Chen Almog Goldstein and her children Agam, Gal and Tal Almog; bottom: Avigail Idan, Alma Avraham, Aviva Siegel, and siblings Ela and Dafna Elyakim.
Top L-R: Hagar Brodutch and children Ofri, Yuval and Oriya, Roni Krivoi; middle: Chen Almog Goldstein and her children Agam, Gal and Tal Almog; bottom: Avigail Idan, Alma Avraham, Aviva Siegel, and siblings Ela and Dafna Elyakim.

04:10 PM GMT

Benjamin Netanyahu visits Israeli soldiers in Gaza

Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Israeli soldiers in Gaza in his first visit to the territory since the war began.

“We continue until the end – until victory,” the Israeli prime minister said in footage posted online by his office.

“Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the war’s goals, and we will.”

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to soldiers at undisclosed location in the Gaza Strip
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to soldiers at undisclosed location in the Gaza Strip - Israeli Prime Minister Office
The prime minister wore a helmet and body armour as he visited the troops
The prime minister wore a helmet and body armour as he visited the troops - Israeli Prime Minister Office

04:04 PM GMT

Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, says Labour's Kyle

Labour’s Peter Kyle has said there must be “zero tolerance for the world’s oldest hatred” as he addressed the march, reports Nicole Lampert.

“We stand with the Jewish people of Great Britain,” the shadow science minister said. “We stand as one and we are united.

“I know the last month and a half has shaken the community to its core. Genocidal chants, business owners should never be attacked.

“Racism ignored or denied – as if Jews don’t count but today we say Jews do count.

“We must have zero tolerance for the worlds oldest hatred. We stand with you.”


04:01 PM GMT

Police from Wales and Devon guarding London march

Police from as far afield as Wales and Devon can be seen along the route of the march at the Embankment underground station, Joe Pinkstone reports.

There has been heavy police presence throughout the event, but with most of it merely to mark the route.

Two protestors from “within the group” were pulled aside by a group of around half a dozen Met Police officers.

One officer at the scene told The Telegraph the individuals were pulled aside for causing some trouble in the march but were not being asked to disperse under the section 35 order “at this stage”.

It was the first a lot of trouble seen in more than two hours.


03:59 PM GMT

Red Cross to visit unreleased hostages, says US

The Red Cross will visit the hostages who are not being released by Hamas, the US has said.

“It is part of the agreement that that be done by the Red Cross and we expect that to be fulfilled,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC.

Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas would see the Red Cross “visit them all and ... bring them the medication that they need”.

Hundreds of Israeli and foreign hostages remain in Hamas captivity.


03:54 PM GMT

Released hostage in 70s urged Hamas to let others go instead

A released Israeli hostage in her 70s urged Hamas to let other captives go free before her, Israeli health minister Uriel Busso has said.

Mr Busso told Israel’s Channel 12 news: “She said, ‘wait, but there is a woman older than me who is in worse health – don’t you think you should let her go first?’”

The minister did not say who the hostage was and when she had been released.


03:44 PM GMT

Families of hostages gathering at Israeli hospitals

The families of hostages who are expected to be released today have started to gather at hospitals where their loved ones are expected to arrive, Haaretz has reported.


03:33 PM GMT

US 'hopeful' four-year-old girl will be released

American national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said he is “hopeful” US citizen Abigail Mor Idan, 4, will be among the hostages released today.

“We are hopeful that Abigail will be released. We think it’s long past time that this little girl, who just... celebrated her fourth birthday, is back home,” he said.

Abigail celebrated her fourth birthday on Friday in Hamas captivity.

She was reportedly in her father Roy’s arms when the 43-year-old photojournalist and her mother, Smadar Eden, were shot and killed by Hamas on Oct 7.

Her siblings, aged 6 and 10, also witnessed their parents’ murder but escaped unharmed by hiding in a closet for 14 hours, relatives said.


03:28 PM GMT

Israel must exist, Johnson says at march

Anti-Semitism seen at pro-Palestine marches across Europe proves why Israel must exist, Boris Johnson has said at today’s march in London.

The former prime minister told GB News that it is “very sad this march has to take place at all”.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of what Israel has done, or is doing, I think that the anti-Semitism we have seen in some of the marches around Europe has really confirmed for me the absolutely human necessity for Israel to exist,” he said.


03:23 PM GMT

Israel 'strikes Damascus airport'

Israel launched air strikes on Damascus airport in Syria on Sunday, a war monitoring group and a Syrian pro-government newspaper said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israeli air strikes had targeted Damascus International Airport. There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Flights scheduled to arrive in Damascus are being diverted to the cities of Latakia and Aleppo, reported the Al Watan newspaper.

Israel has for years carried out strikes against what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria, including against the Aleppo and Damascus airports.


03:15 PM GMT

Police block pro-Palestine protestors from joining anti-Semitism march

Three men carrying Palestine flags have been surrounded by police and blocked from joining the anti-Semitism march, Nicole Lampert reports.

The marchers are all very peaceful and many are thanking policeman as they walk past them.

Police officers have come from as far as Wales and as many as 1,500 officers are out policing the march.

“We were told to expect 30,000 [marchers] but you can add a couple of zeros to that,” one officer said. Another said 200,000 are here and another put the figure at “well over 100,000”.

The actress Felicity Kendall is here and placards on display include “Give me antipasti, not anti-Semitism” and “Spread hummus, not hate”.

One police officer said as many as 300,000 people could be on the march
One police officer said as many as 300,000 people could be on the march - Susannah Ireland

03:08 PM GMT

Egypt receives list of 13 Israelis set for release today

Egypt has received the names of the 13 Israeli hostages who are set to be released by Hamas.

The hostages will be exchanged for 39 Palestinians from Israeli prisons “today”, State Information Services head Diaa Rashwan said.

Seven other non-Israeli hostages are also set to be released today.


03:00 PM GMT

Scenes of destruction: Latest photos from Gaza on the third day of a four-day truce

Palestinians flee south on the third day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas at Salah al-Din road in central Gaza Strip on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee south on the third day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas - AP Photo/Hatem Moussa
Israeli tanks are seen in Gaza City's Zeitoun district
Israeli tanks are seen in Gaza City's Zeitoun district
TOPSHOT - A Palestinian woman sits on debris in her damaged apartment in the Khezaa district on the outskirts of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis, following weeks of Israeli bombardment, as a truce between Israel and Hamas entered its second day on November 25, 2023. Hamas is expected to release another 14 Israeli hostages in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners on November 25, as part of a four-day truce in their seven-week war. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman sits in her destroyed apartment on the outskirts of Khan Yunis - Mahmud HAMS / AFP

02:42 PM GMT

'Hamas releases Russian hostage'

Hamas has released a Russian hostage as it thanked Vladimir Putin for his support for the “Palestinian cause”.

The Russian, whose name has not been released, is the first of an estimated 20 to be released in total today.

The terror group said its release of the Russian citizen was in appreciation of Moscow’s position on its conflict with Israel and continued support from Putin, whom Hamas has previously called its “closest friend”.

“In response to the efforts of Russian President Putin and in appreciation of the Russian position in support of the Palestinian cause; We released a detainee who holds Russian citizenship,” Hamas said.

The group’s statement did not name the individual who had been released. There was no immediate comment from Moscow.

Read a previous story on Hamas and Putin’s relationship


02:33 PM GMT

Spanish PM says his criticism of Israel is 'a question of being humane'

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defended comments he made about the Israeli offensive in Gaza which angered Israel, saying “it was a question of being humane”.

Visiting the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Friday with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Sanchez said the “indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians” in the Palestinian territory was “completely unacceptable”.

Both leaders called for a permanent ceasefire in the war-battered territory, with the Belgian premier also denouncing the destruction in the Gaza Strip as “unacceptable”.

The Israeli foreign ministry swiftly summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium for a “harsh rebuke” over comments by the two countries’ leaders, accusing them of supporting “terrorism”.


02:24 PM GMT

Tommy Robinson 'not welcome' at London march, say police

Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, has been escorted away by police after joining the march against antisemitism in London.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to march in London in the demonstration, a day after pro-Palestinian crowds also gathered in the capital to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.

There had been fears in that Mr Robinson, the former leader of the far-right grouping, could disrupt the protest organised by charity Campaign Against Antisemitism after violence erupted on Armistice Day.  He was seen among a group of men who had turned out to protest against a pro-Palestinian march but then started attacking police.

The Metropolitan Police had made clear in advance that he was “not welcome” at the march, with the force warning that any offences “whether from within the protest or from any groups trying to challenge or interfere with the march” would be dealt with.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: British far-right activist, Tommy Robinson is surrounded by police during the march against anti-Semitism on November 26, 2023 in London, England. The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has sparked a wave of protests across Europe, and heightened concerns over anti-Semitism among Jewish communities. (Photo by Alishia Abodunde/Getty Images)
Tommy Robinson being surrounded by police at the march - Alishia Abodunde/Getty Images

01:54 PM GMT

Boris Johnson and family spotted at antisemitism march

UNITED KINGDOM, LONDON, 26th November 2023 March Against Antisemitism Former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, his wife, Carrie and his sister Rachel Johnson join the March A march against Antisemitism organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism starting by the Royal Courts of Justice in response to the Pro Palestinian marches that have been seen over the last weeks. ©2023 Tom Bowles +44 7956 938547
Boris was joined by his wife Carrie and sister Rachel - Tom Bowles
UNITED KINGDOM, LONDON, 26th November 2023 March Against Antisemitism A march against Antisemitism organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism starting by the Royal Courts of Justice in response to the Pro Palestinian marches that have been seen over the last weeks. ©2023 Tom Bowles +44 7956 938547
UNITED KINGDOM, LONDON, 26th November 2023 March Against Antisemitism A march against Antisemitism organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism starting by the Royal Courts of Justice in response to the Pro Palestinian marches that have been seen over the last weeks. ©2023 Tom Bowles +44 7956 938547

01:40 PM GMT

Pictured: A march against antisemitism is underway in London

SUSANNAH IRELAND
SUSANNAH IRELAND
People take part in a march against antisemitism organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Picture date: Sunday November 26, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Israel. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
People take part in a march against antisemitism organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Picture date: Sunday November 26, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Israel. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

01:28 PM GMT

Israel criticises Leo Varadkar for comments on release of nine-year-old Hamas hostage

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has been criticised by Israel for saying a nine-year-old girl kidnapped by Hamas was “lost and has now been found”, writes Giovanni Legorano.

Responding to the release of Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli schoolgirl, the Taoiseach said: “This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief.  Our prayers have been answered.”

Israel’s foreign minister hit out at the statement, telling Mr Varadkar that it was inappropriate to suggest Emily was simply “lost” when she had in fact been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.

“Mr Prime Minister. It seems you have lost your moral compass and need a reality check!” Eli Cohen, Israel’s foreign minister, said on social media.

“Emily Hand was not “’lost’, she was kidnapped by a terror organisation (sic) worse than ISIS that murdered her stepmother. “

Read the full story


12:54 PM GMT

Pictured: Israeli soldiers return to their base camp at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (14231270d) An Israeli soldiers' unit reacts upon returning from the Gaza Strip to their base camp at the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, 26 November 2023. Israel and Hamas had agreed to a four-day ceasefire mediated by Qatar, the USA, and Egypt, that came into effect on 24 November and includes a deal for the release of people held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons. Thousands of people have died since Hamas militants launched an attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October, and the Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank which followed it. Israeli soldiers return from Gaza Strip to positions in Southern Israel - 26 Nov 2023
Israeli soldiers return from the Gaza Strip to their base camp at the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israe - CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12:28 PM GMT

Israel-linked tanker boarded off Yemen, says security firm

A tanker linked to an Israel-affiliated company has been boarded off the coast of Yemen, the maritime security firm Ambrey said on Sunday following a series of incidents on the same shipping route.

Ambrey said that “US naval forces are engaged in the situation” after the incident involving the Central Park vessel owned and managed by a UK-based, Israel-linked company.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels had previously threatened to attack the tanker if it did not divert to the port of Hodeida, it said.

Communications from a US coalition warship had been intercepted warning the Central Park to disregard the messages, Ambrey added.


12:13 PM GMT

Watch: The moment an Israeli child hostage is reunited with his father


11:51 AM GMT

Israeli forces killed Palestinian farmer in refugee camp, says Red Crescent

A Palestinian farmer was killed and another injured on Sunday after they were targeted by Israeli forces in the Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of Gaza, the Palestinan Red Crescent said.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the report and it was not clear if it would impact the latest phase of plans to swap 50 hostages held by the Palestinian militant group for 150 prisoners in Israeli jails over a four-day period.

Thirteen Israelis and four Thai nationals arrived in Israel early on Sunday after a second release of hostages held by Hamas following an initial delay caused by a dispute about aid delivery into Gaza.


11:21 AM GMT

Some American citizens may be released today, reports WSJ

Egyptian officials say some American citizens are to be included in today’s hostage release, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The latest list of hostages to be released by Hamas has been shared with Israel but not yet been made public.

Hamas is believed to be holding nine American citizens but has not released any in the past two exchanges with Palestinian prisoners.

The Biden administration said it was ‘disappointed’ that none had been released on Saturday.


11:01 AM GMT

Watch: The hostages released by Hamas on Saturday


10:45 AM GMT

Pictured: Scenes of jubilation in the West Bank last night after Palestinian prisoners returned home

AL BIREH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 26: 39 Palestinians, brought by International Committee of the Red Cross vehicle, reunite with their relatives as they are released from Israeli Ofer prison as a part of Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas prisoner swap amid Humanitarian pause, according to Palestine Liberation Organization's prisoners in Al Bireh city of Ramallah, West Bank on November 26, 2023. Israeli authorities released 39 Palestinians, including 6 females, 33 minors as part of second batch of prisoner swap according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Palestinians, brought by International Committee of the Red Cross vehicle, reunite with their friends, relatives and supporters
AL BIREH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 26: 39 Palestinians, brought by International Committee of the Red Cross vehicle, reunite with their relatives as they are released from Israeli Ofer prison as a part of Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas prisoner swap amid Humanitarian pause, according to Palestine Liberation Organization's prisoners in Al Bireh city of Ramallah, West Bank on November 26, 2023. Israeli authorities released 39 Palestinians, including 6 females, 33 minors as part of second batch of prisoner swap according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Israeli authorities released 39 Palestinians, including 6 females, 33 minors as part of second batch of prisoner swap
A Palestinian prisoner (R) hugs a relative after detainees were released from Israeli jails in exchange for hostages released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, upon they arrival in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on November 26, 2023. Hamas on November 25, released a second group of Israeli and foreign civilians it had been holding hostage in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, after an hours-long unexpected delay set nerves on edge. Israeli authorities said 13 Israelis and four Thai citizens had returned to Israel. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)
A freed Palestinian prisoner, right, cuddles a relative after his release - JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images

10:31 AM GMT

Hamas military wing confirms northern brigade commander, 3 other leaders dead

Hamas’ military wing confirmed the commander of its northern brigade, Ahmed Al-Ghandour, and three other senior leaders had been killed during Israel’s offensive against the Islamist movement.

In a statement, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said Ghandour was a member of its military council and named three other leaders who had died, including Ayman Siyyam, who Israeli media reports said was head of the Brigades’ rocket-firing units.


10:11 AM GMT

Pictured: Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv last night to pressure the government into securing the release of hostages still held by Hamas

TOPSHOT - Relatives, friends and supporters of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov, held hostage in Gaza since the October 7 attack by Hamas militants in southern Israel, take part in a protest to ask for the release of Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv on November 25, 2023. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Relatives, friends and supporters of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov, protest for his release
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 25:Thousands of people and the families of hostages hold up their mobile phones with the torch light on to sing the national anthem during the ‘50 Days of Hell’ rally in support of the 212 hostages that are still being held by Hamas, as another 13 Israeli hostages are supposed to be released from Gaza and brought back to Israel, during the second day of the temporary truce, outside The Museum of Modern Art known as the 'The Hostages and Missing Square' on November 25, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. According to event organizers 50,000 people were expected to attend with organized buses from around the country, as well as flights with the displaced families staying in Eilat of hostages from the communities around the Gaza Envelope. 100,000 people turned up according to event organizers. A total of 50 hostages currently held by Hamas are to be released during a four-day truce with Israel, the first such pause in fighting since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched its surprise attack and Israeli responded with a vast military offensive to destroy the militant group that governs Gaza. Under the deal, 150 Palestinian prisoners are also to be released from Israel, and more humanitarian aid will be admitted at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
People up their mobile phones with the torch light on to sing the national anthem - Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images
100,000 people turned up according to event organizers.
100,000 people turned up to the rally, according to event organizers

09:55 AM GMT

Hamas says four of its leaders killed so far

Hamas says four of its leaders have been killed so far including a commader of the North Gaza Brigade


09:33 AM GMT

A look at the 13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas on Saturday

A second group of hostages was released by Hamas on Saturday in a prisoner swap deal with Israel, writes Tony Diver.

Thirteen Israelis and four Thai nationals were freed on Saturday night, despite an eleventh-hour dispute and Hamas claims that Israel had breached the terms of a ceasefire agreement.

Among those released are several survivors of the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the hardest-hit communities in southern Israel on October 7, where more than 130 people were killed.

Israeli officials are optimistic that more hostages will be released by the terror group in the coming days.

See the full list of the Israelis released


09:13 AM GMT

Israeli PM's office has list of hostages for release

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it has received a list of hostages due to be released by Hamas on Sunday.

The list was being checked by security officials, it said, and families of the hostages had been informed.


08:51 AM GMT

Watch: The moment freed nine-year Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand was reunited with her father


08:33 AM GMT

Israeli snipers fire into crowds of Palestinian civilians for a second day, says Sky news journalist

Sky News journalist Alex Crawford said Israeli snipers again shot indiscriminately into crowds of Palestinians trying to return to their homes in the north on Saturday, as they did on Friday.

Hundreds of Palestinians are trying to reach stranded friends and family still trapped in the north, where many had to flee to escape Israeli bombardment.

On the first day of the truce on Friday Israeli snipers shot into a crowd of people at a checkpoint, wounding several, Sky reported. 

The firing came despite some in the crowd waving white flags.

Sky said the attacks were in apparent response to the Israeli army warning the north was off limits.


08:06 AM GMT

Israeli forces kill seven Palestinians in West Bank, Palestinian officials say

Israeli forces killed six Palestinians, including two minors and at least one gunman, in the occupied West Bank late on Saturday and early Sunday, medics and local sources said.

Five of the deaths occurred in the city of Jenin, which the Israeli military said it raided to detain a Palestinian who is suspected of involvement in a lethal West Bank ambush in August.

The military did not immediately elaborate on the Jenin incident, which witnesses described as clashes between gunmen and troops.

The WAFA official Palestinian news agency said that Israeli forces stormed Jenin “from several directions, firing bullets and surrounding government hospitals and the headquarters of the Red Crescent Society”.


07:43 AM GMT

That's my son!' Thai family overjoyed as second group of hostages freed

The mother of a Thai hostage freed from Gaza late on Saturday said she was indescribably happy her son was among the four most recent Thai nationals confirmed as freed from Hamas captivity.

“My granddaughter called me at 5 a.m. saying my son was among the hostages released and I didn’t really believe it,” Thongkoon Onkaew told Reuters by phone on Sunday.

“Then she sent me the photo and I was like, ‘That’s my son! My son!’”

Natthaporn Onkaew, 26, was released along with four other Thai nationals on Saturday. It followed the release of 10 Thais and one Filipino on Friday.

Thongkoon, like many of the 30,000 Thais working in Israel, was a farm labourer. Thais make up one of the largest migrant worker groups in the country.


07:25 AM GMT

13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas on Saturday

Families and children kidnapped from Israel’s southern Kibbutz Be’eri were among the 13 Israeli hostages released by Hamas on Saturday, according to various accounts given by their relatives.

The releases came following a Friday agreement between Israel and Hamas, which is supposed to last four days and allow for 50 Israelis and 150 Palestinians to be freed.

A group of 13 Israeli hostages were also freed on Friday under the agreement, while Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners on Friday, and a further 39 on Saturday night.

Hamas also freed 15 foreigners who were not included in its agreement with Israel: four Thai hostages on Saturday, in addition to ten Thais and one Filipino released on Friday.

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