After a delay of hours wherein Israel said it was reviewing a list of Israeli hostage names for release issued by Hamas, the fourth and final planned round of a swap is back on, regional reports indicate.
"The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Israeli authorities have notified the families of the hostages slated to be released in the coming hours, as the deal appears to be back on track following an earlier dispute," Times of Israel writes.
The hold-up has centered on efforts of Hamas to separate children from their own mothers in today's release - something which Israeli officials now say they've successfully blocked.
In total eleven hostages are being released, which includes nine children and two women, who are the mothers to some of the children. They are from one of the hardest hit Kibbutz communities from Oct.7 - Nir Oz. The day prior, 4-year old Israeli-American Avigail Idan was among 14 Israelis and three Thai citizens set free as part of the third day of the temporary truce which began Friday.
By Monday's end, the original four-day truce wherein some 50 Israelis are exchanged for hundreds of Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons will reach a conclusion.
However, there are emerging reports out of Qatar that Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the truce by two days. This presumably will involve the release of more captives, per the prior terms of the deal. According to The New York Times, nothing is finalized and the truce is still on shaky ground:
Israel and Hamas were at odds over the hostages and prisoners set to be released on Monday, the final day of a four-day cease-fire, putting their truce on shaky ground even as mediators tried to secure a two-day extension of the pause.
Israel and Hamas each signaled a willingness over the weekend to prolong their truce if it allowed for more hostages and Palestinian detainees to be freed. But both sides have taken issue with the names presented by the other for the final day of exchanges under the deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, who said that officials from Qatar, the lead mediator, were trying to address the differences.
Prior reports indicated that an extension would include the release of 20 Israeli hostages as part of the extension, and in return 60 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would be freed.
Hamas now says it is drawing up a new list of hostages held in Gaza "in order to extend the truce" with Israel. But at some point, major fighting is likely to return. The government of Iraq has warned that if the truce does not become permanent, the risk of major regional war grows.
"We are continuing until the end, until victory."— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 27, 2023
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited troops in Gaza during the truce with Hamas.
Latest: https://t.co/BGv8ivw8lv pic.twitter.com/f2MQY63myF
Below are some of the latest updates via Al Jazeera:
- Egypt and Qatar are close to reaching a deal to extend the truce by two days, says Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service.
- A suspect has been arrested for the shooting of three Palestinians in the US state of Vermont, police have said, as the attack is investigated as a suspected hate-motivated crime.
- Doctors Without Borders has described the situation in Gaza as dire.
- The Palestine Red Crescent has condemned the detention of two prominent hospital chiefs and has demanded their release, stressing that they have protections under international humanitarian law.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is pushing for a complete humanitarian ceasefire over a temporary truce, saying the “humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is getting worse by the day”.
#Israeli official quoted on Israeli TV says that if Hamas releases the list of 20 names of hostages who will be released in the coming two days, then the ceasefire will be extended.— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) November 27, 2023
The pattern so far has been that nothing is ultimately final or certain until the hostages are with the Red Cross and are crossing borders to be greeted by awaiting Israeli officials.