Hostage release and Gaza truce to start Friday, Qatar says #Hostage #release #Gaza #truce #start #Friday #Qatar

Long-awaited hostage deal set to move ahead

TEL AVIV —  After a day of nerve-wracking delays and intense fighting in Gaza, the long-awaited hostage deal is set to move ahead.

Families of Thai nationals held by Hamas plead for help

Thai nationals are among the hostages taken by Hamas and their families are pleading with both Hamas and Israel to help ensure their release. Nearly 10% of those taken captive were migrant workers from South East Asia.

Hope for Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv

Posters of children held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip are displayed with toys across from the Kirya in Tel Aviv tonight.

Image: Israel Hamas Hostages
Maya Alleruzzo / AP

‘Fingers crossed’ that girl, 3, kidnapped by Hamas will be released, President Biden says

President Joe Biden said Thursday he has his “fingers crossed” that a 3-year-old American girl among the hostages taken by Hamas will be released in the hostage deal Friday.

Biden briefly answered reporter questions as he visited a fire station in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Thanksgiving, but declined to speak on the deal “until it’s done.”

Three-year-old Abigail Mor Idan’s parents were killed in their home at the Kfar Aza kibbutz in Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, her great-aunt Liz Hirsh Naftali previously said. The little one survived and was taken hostage.

Just two doctors left at Al-Shifa hospital, official says

There are just two doctors left at Al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip, the hospital’s head of plastic surgery, Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, told NBC News.

“Most of the staff have left yesterday, except for two doctors, me and my colleague and one nurse all in the hospital,” he said Thursday.

Though he described the situation as “very, very difficult,” he said they’re focused on an estimated 200 patients left at the hospital, which was raided by Israeli military last week under claims that it was used as a Hamas stronghold.

Israel committed to getting all of its hostages out of Gaza, Netanyahu says

Israel is committed to getting all of its hostages out of Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

“We hope to get our hostages out,” he said. “It’s not without its challenges. But we have to, we hope to get this first tranche out. And then we’re committed to getting everyone out.”

Netanyahu added that Israel would pursue its battle with Hamas until “we give a different future for Gaza and for us.”

An injured boy is comforted in southern Gaza

A photo shows a woman holding an injured Palestinian child as they rested today at a school in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis.

Mohammed Talatene / DPA via Getty Images

Hostage families hopeful but trying not to be overly optimistic

TEL AVIV — Familes of people taken hostage by Hamas are hopeful but being careful not to be overly optimistic as they wait for updates on their relatives.

“We push ourselves not to get too excited, because we know that the Hamas is playing with our minds, psychological games,” Eyal Mor, 61, told NBC News today, before the announcement that 13 women and children held hostage in Gaza are due to be released tomorrow.

Four members of Mor’s family were kidnapped from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7, but “until they are here we don’t let ourselves be happy,” he said.

Gil Dickmann, 31, has also been waiting for news about his cousin, 39-year-old Carmel Gat. He said the hostage deal will help rebuild trust in the Israeli government that was lost after the Hamas attacks.

“People are going to see what they were waiting so long to see, which is babies, moms, elderly people coming back home to their families,” he said. “That’s a big, big victory, in a way, for Israelis to see.”

The last time Tagit Tzin, 49, saw her two young nieces, 15-year old Dafna and 8-year old Ella Elyakim, was in a hostage photograph, sitting on a floral-patterned mattress in an otherwise nondescript room. She said it looked as if Dafna had been crying.

“I just want to see them standing by them own legs and breathing by them own, and then I will be relaxed,” she said.

Stranded Palestinians might be able to return to Gaza tomorrow, embassy says

Citizens stranded in Egypt might be able to return to Gaza tomorrow, the Palestinian Embassy in Egypt said in a statement on Facebook today.

“Egyptian authorities have informed the Embassy of the possibility of their return to the Gaza Strip tomorrow,” the statement said.

“Egyptian authorities confirmed that the return of the remaining stranded people in Cairo and the rest of the governorates of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be allowed voluntarily from Saturday,” it added.

Gaza health ministry to ‘stop full coordination’ with WHO after Al-Shifa director’s arrest

Gaza’s health ministry said today that it will “stop full coordination with the World Health Organization” after the arrest of the director of the Al-Shifa hospital.

Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya was traveling with a United Nations convoy when it was stopped by Israeli forces and he was arrested with other medical staff, the ministry said in a news release.

Both Israel and the United Nations bore “full responsibility” for the incident, the release said.

It added that the ministry of health had decided “to stop full coordination with the World Health Organization on the issue of evacuating the remaining wounded and medical teams until a report is submitted explaining what happened and the detainees are released.”

Around 35 launches detected from Lebanon, IDF says

Approximately 35 launches were detected from Lebanon toward Israel, the country’s military said on Telegram today, adding that “a number” were intercepted.

“A number of anti-tank missiles and mortars at various locations along the border with Lebanon” were also launched, the post said.

In a later post, the IDF said “warplanes and helicopters” attacked Hezbollah infrastructure and rocket launch sites.

Netanyahu’s strategy has resulted in ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ Elizabeth Warren says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military strategy “has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe, the deaths of thousands of civilians in Gaza, and endangered the region’s long-term stability,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said in a statement yesterday.

“I’ve repeatedly urged the Israeli government to stop the bombing in Gaza, and I’ve pressed for massive humanitarian aid for civilians,” Warren said.

“Hamas must release the remaining hostages and stop its attacks. The Israeli government should not resume bombing in Gaza, which would be a grave strategic and moral mistake,” she added.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators arrested during Macy’s Day parade

NYPD officers arrest two pro-Palestinian protesters who crossed over the barrier during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City today.

Police arrest pro-Palestinian protesters in New York City during Thanksgiving Day parade
NYPD officers arrest two pro-Palestinian protesters who crossed over the barrier during the traditional Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.Fatih Aktas / Anadolu via Getty Images

U.N. special rapporteur says her X account has been shadow banned

Francesa Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, said today that her account on the social media site X has been shadow banned — a term referring to the idea that profiles have become more difficult for users to find and see.

Questioning X owner Elon Musk, Albanese said in a post on the platform that “many people” had notified her that her account appeared to be shadow-banned. She added this would be an “intolerable affront to freedom of expression.”

She added that many people were notifying her that a search for her account was bringing up parody accounts instead of her real account, which has 110,000 followers.

Displaced Gazan family says truce needs to become a full cease-fire

Alaa and Omar Al Salawat are staying at a camp for displaced Gazans in Khan Younis. Both expressed a desire to see a lasting peace in the war between Israel and Hamas.

“We just want a life without war,” Alaa said. “We’ve had enough of war.”

Gazan says pause brings respite but not resolution

The pause in fighting set to start Friday morning has been met with “relief” in Gaza “but ultimately it’s not enough,” said Mohammad Ghalayini, 44, who lives in Khan Younis in the south of the enclave.

“Any reprieve from this s—storm is welcome,” said Ghalayini, an air quality scientist who returned to his homeland of Gaza from Manchester, England, in September for a career break. “We don’t want a pause only for things to continue.”

He said he feared any resumption of fighting will see an escalation in the south of the strip, where he lives now, like in the north, from where he recently fled. And for some, the delay until Friday will come too late, he said.

“Every day, there is a massive bombardment near our house with people killed,” he said. “These people could have been alive if this had stopped sooner.”

‘Business as usual’ for the Israeli military in Gaza today

TEL AVIV — A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces today rebuffed the idea that it may be scaling back its operations in Gaza to avoid derailing the hostage deal.

Image: Families Of Hostages Await News After Israel-Hamas Truce Announcement
An Israeli Howitzer fires towards the Gaza Strip from a position close to the border in southern Israel today. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

It’s “business as usual,” said Lt. Col Richard Hecht. He added that strikes “may even intensify” in the run-up to a cease-fire.

Israeli says list of names received, ‘in contact with all the families’

Israel has confirmed it has received a list of names of the hostages who will be released tomorrow.

The prime minister’s office said in a statement that “liaison officers sent messages to all the families whose loved ones appear on the list, as well as to all the families of the abductees.”

It did not elaborate on any further details about the deal. Israel has yet to confirm the timings of the truce and hostage-prisoner exchange, which Qatar detailed.

Hamas outlines terms of deal to start Friday

Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, has echoed Qatar’s announcement that the truce with Israel will start tomorrow morning.

A statement from the group outlining the terms of the deal said the truce would come into effect at 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. ET) tomorrow morning and would last for four days.

It added that the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Israeli military would stop fighting throughout that period and Israel would stop flying aircraft over the enclave.

Image: Families Of Hostages Await News After Israel-Hamas Truce Announcement
People gather in protest for the release of Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv today.Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Getty Images

Within that period, the statement said, Israeli “prisoners, women and children under the age of 19, will be released.” Three Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, would be released for every Israeli, it added.

The statement said 200 trucks containing medical supplies would be brought into the enclave on a daily basis, along with four trucks containing fuel and cooking gas.

Cease-fire to begin at midnight ET, Qatar says

The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas will begin at 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. ET) tomorrow morning, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement today.

It added that the first batch of 13 hostages “including women and children,” will be released at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) on the same day. It said both parties had received lists of the people to be released by either side.

Qatar played a central role in the negotiations. The statement followed a delay in the deal, which had been due to begin today.

German police raid properties connected to Hamas and another banned Palestinian group

MAINZ, Germany — Police in Germany carried out raids this morning on 15 properties they said were linked to Hamas and the Palestinian group Samidoun, both of which were banned in the country earlier this month, officials said. Officers raided 11 properties in the capital, Berlin, they said.

“We are continuing our consistent action against radical Islamists,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

“With the bans on Hamas and Samidoun in Germany, we have sent a clear signal that we will not tolerate any glorification or support of the barbaric terror of Hamas against Israel,” she added.

Israeli troops and tanks in northern Gaza

AHIKAM SERI / AFP – Getty Images
AHIKAM SERI / AFP – Getty Images

Israel confirms Al-Shifa hospital director held for questioning

Israeli security forces confirmed the Al-Shifa hospital director “was apprehended and transferred” for questioning today, saying in a statement the move followed what they said was evidence that the facility had “served as a Hamas command and control center.”

“The Hamas terror tunnel network situated under the hospital also exploited electricity and resources taken from the hospital,” said the joint statement from the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency. “In addition, Hamas stored numerous weapons inside the hospital and on the hospital grounds.”

While the statement did not name Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya, he is known to be the director of the medical complex. A doctor at the hospital told NBC News earlier today that he had witnessed his detention.

Israel has been seeking to make its case that the hospital served as a Hamas command center, releasing videos and photos of what it says were hostages being taken there by the militant group and tunnels built underneath the site. Hamas and doctors at Al-Shifa have denied the claim.

Eyewitness tells NBC News he saw Al-Shifa hospital director’s arrest


TEL AVIV — A doctor at the Al-Shifa hospital told NBC News today he saw the director of the medical complex being arrested along with several other members of staff.

Dr. Khaled Abu Samra said he saw “dozens” of bodies lying in the streets “and no one could bury them,” as he was evacuated from the facility in the north of the Gaza Strip. He added that he saw Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya being arrested along with other “medical workers and personnel.”

Separately, a spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry told NBC News he had been arrested.

Israeli officials later confirmed he had been arrested.

Deal between Israel and Hamas ‘remains agreed,’ White House says

WASHINGTON — The hostage deal between Israel and Hamas “remains agreed,” the National Security Council said in a statement today, despite the apparent delay in the start of the cease-fire between Israel and the militant group.

“The deal was agreed and remains agreed,” the spokesperson said. “The parties are working out final logistical details, particularly for the first day of implementation.”

The spokesperson added that the deal “is on track and we are hopeful that implementation will begin on Friday morning.”

The statement came after Israel said no hostages held in Gaza will be released before tomorrow, while the start of the four-day pause in fighting and the release of 150 Palestinians from Israeli jails also appeared delayed.


Indonesian Hospital in Gaza evacuated

The Indonesian Hospital in Gaza has been evacuated, the head of the aid group that runs it said today.

Sarbini Abdul Murad, the chief presidium of the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, told Al Jazeera that the hospital was “now empty, and our volunteers have been moved to a school near the European Hospital in Rafah.”

Injured Palestinian children at the Ras Al-Naqoura school in Khan Younis after being transferred from the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza.SAID KHATIB / AFP – Getty Images

Doctors and the wounded had also been moved to the facility in the south of the enclave, he said.

The move came after heavy fighting and bombardment in northern Gaza, where the Indonesian Hospital is based.

Gaza faces outbreak of waterborne diseases, UNRWA chief says

Gaza is on the brink of an outbreak of waterborne diseases, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said today during a visit to southern Gaza.

In a separate post on X yesterday, Lazzarini said the sewage was “flooding” in the enclave and people were wearing the same clothes since the war broke out on Oct. 7.

Israel will not end war once cease-fire expires, IDF chief of staff says

The war with Hamas will not end once the cease-fire with the militant group expires, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces said today.

“We are not ending the war,” Herzi Halevi told soldiers inside the Gaza Strip, adding that Israel would continue until it achieves victory.

“We are trying to connect the goals of the war, so that the pressure from the ground operation brings about the ability to also achieve the goal of this war,” he said.

Israeli military says it struck 300 Hamas targets yesterday

Israel struck 300 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said today. Some of the targets were Hamas squads that Israel targeted using drones, the IDF said.

Its forces also located operational headquarters as well as tunnels and warehouses, the IDF said in a post on X, adding it had found a tunnel shaft under a mosque.

NBC News has not verified these claims.

Who are the Houthis, and how could their attacks escalate the war?

As the war between Israel and Hamas continues, Yemen’s Houthi rebels hijacked a ship in the Red Sea and took dozens of people hostage. The U.S. is calling for their immediate release.

U.S. says warships intercept attack drones from Yemen

The U.S. warship Thomas Hudner shot down multiple attack drones in the Red Sea that were launched from Yemen, U.S. Central Command said.

The warship was on patrol in the area, CENTCOM added, with no injuries sustained.

The Yemeni Armed Forces said yesterday on Telegram that they were launching winged missiles at various Israeli targets.

Qatar says time for start of the pause in fighting announced soon

The time for the start of the four-day pause in fighting between Hamas and Israel will be announced “within the next few hours,” the Qatari foreign ministry said this morning.

“Work continues with both parties,” spokesperson Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari said in a statement, so that a pause can be started rapidly and its adherence can be ensured.

Bombardment continues in southern Gaza

A woman holding a child flees following a strike in Rafah.MOHAMMED ABED / AFP – Getty Images
A youth walks inside a shrapnel-riddled building in Khan Younis.MAHMUD HAMS / AFP – Getty Images
A girl carrying a birdcage reacts as people flee in Rafah.MOHAMMED ABED / AFP – Getty Images

Israel arrests Al-Shifa hospital director, Gaza health ministry says


TEL AVIV — Israel has arrested the director of the Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, the enclave’s health ministry and Hamas said this morning.

Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya was arrested while moving with the wounded on Salah Al-Din Road, health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra told NBC News, adding the ministry was unaware of how many other people were arrested.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and carried out the Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel, said that Salmiya had been arrested along with a number of other medical personnel, calling it a “despicable act.” Israel has displayed what it says is evidence of hostages taken to the hospital and tunnels used by the militant group under the medical complex, which Hamas and doctors have denied.

The hospital was raided by Israeli forces last week and a number of wounded patients, including more than two dozen premature babies, have been evacuated. The street used by Salmiya is the one set up by Israel as the “humanitarian corridor” for those evacuating south.

NBC News has not verified the claims of Salmiya’s arrest and has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.

Hostage release delayed until tomorrow, Israel says

The release of hostages that was expected to begin today will not start until tomorrow at the earliest, Israeli national security director Tzachi Hanegbi said yesterday.

“The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday,” he said in a statement.

It is unclear what caused the delay, and it was not clear if the pause in fighting would also be delayed.

U.N. says more than 1 million displaced Gazans sheltering at its facilities

Nearly 1,037,000 internally displaced persons are sheltering in 156 UNRWA camps across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the north, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said.

The latest UNRWA report also indicates that nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

The situation of UNRWA refugee camps is dire: On average, around 220 people sheltering in UNRWA schools share a single toilet, and there is one shower unit for every 4,500 people in UNRWA shelters, according to the report.

Looking out over the rubble in Khan Younis

A man looks at the rubble of a house after an Israeli strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

AFP Contributor#AFP / AFP – Getty Images

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