Update(1544ET): The deal for a second round prisoner swap is back on, apparently. Hamas is expected to release 13 Israelis and 7 foreigners at some point tonight. According to an updated briefing from the IDF:
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says there is “significant progress” in the efforts to release the hostages from the Gaza Strip tonight, following delays by Hamas.
“The effort to return the hostages is our moral and ethical duty. We are determined to fulfill this in any way,” Hagari says in an evening press conference. “The effort tonight is progressing and we will inform the families and the public when things happen. Patience is required.”
“There is significant progress,” he adds.
Hagari says “nothing is final until it actually happens,” as Israel is indirectly negotiating with an “evil terror group.”
Israel earlier said it may resume bombing the Gaza Strip if Hamas doesn't come through on its end of the deal. Hamas for its part claimed it was Israel failing to meet certain agreed-upon details of the swap. 39 Palestinians are expected to be released.
As for getting Americans who are among the captives freed, so far President Biden and his White House team have failed to deliver. Will there be US citizens among the foreign captives released?
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Update(1244ET): There are already signs that the tenuous Hamas-Israel truce could be wavering on its second day in effect. On Saturday, it's expected that 13 Israeli hostages are to be released in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners.
There are contradictory reports that the Israeli hostages may have already been handed over to the Red Cross. But Hamas has late in the day Saturday (local) announced it will delay the release of the second group. Multiple factors have served to hold up the release (it was supposed to happen at 4pm local, per prior statements): the delay in aid trucks getting into Gaza, Israeli reconnaissance drones still operating over the Strip, and certain 'agreed-upon' details related to the swap allegedly not being observed. Below is the new Hamas statement:
"The Al-Qassam Brigades decide to delay the release of the second batch of prisoners until the occupation adheres to the terms of the agreement related to the entry of relief trucks into the northern Gaza Strip, and due to the failure to adhere to the agreed-upon standards for releasing prisoners," the military wing of Hamas said on Telegram.
⚡️Eilat tonight pic.twitter.com/NgGGVcMJAS— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) November 25, 2023
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The first group of Israeli hostages freed by Hamas Friday as part of the temporary truce deal were found to be in good condition, according Israel doctors who evaluated them. On Friday 13 Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks were let go, along with 10 Thai nationals and a Filipino.
Schneider Children’s Medical Center chief executive Efrat Bron-Harlev in a press conference said that the four Israeli children and four women evaluated by the facility are in good physical condition. "They are currently undergoing medical and emotional assessment," she said. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Saturday released photos of their homecoming in Israel, including of 9-year old Ohad, who was reunited with his father and family members.
The other five released Israelis were also reported to be "feeling well" according to regional reports.
As part of the swap, and ceasefire - which into late Saturday appears to still be holding - Israel let 39 Palestinian prisoners go who had been held in Israeli prisons. Palestinians in the West Bank held celebrations in the streets when they were released.
Below are some of the photographs released by the IDF after the Israeli captives went free...
A second group is imminently expected to be released from Hamas captivity on Saturday.
But as for this second day of a swap, there have been some delays, as CNN describes:
The list of hostages provided to Israel by Hamas for release Saturday has 13 names on it, multiple sources have told CNN.
Israel however, has made clear it is expecting 14 people to be released on the second day of the temporary truce in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners.
As the hour of their expected release approaches, there have been discussions over the final list, including whether it will be 13 or 14 people, several of which are expected to be children.
Likely more children and elderly are on the list of those to be freed.
The United Nations on Friday confirmed that in total 137 humanitarian aid and trucks were offloaded in Gaza during the first day of the pause.
Tragically, the number of dead in the Gaza Strip after seven weeks of fighting is nearing 15,000.
Here's what is known about the freed Israelis, via CNN:
- Yafa Adar, 85: Adar is a founder of the Nir Oz kibbutz and is the oldest person to be taken hostage on October 7. Her eldest grandson was also abducted, and is still held hostage, said a Nir Oz spokesperson.
- Margalit Moses, 77: The mother of three and grandmother of 10 is a retired biology teacher. She is also a cancer survivor who has diabetes, “fibromyalgia, and takes many additional medications,” said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Israel.
- Hana Katzir, 76: She is also a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz and the wife of the late Rami Katzir, 79, who was killed in their home. Her son Elad was also kidnapped and is still in Gaza.
- Adina Moshe, 72: The retired educator and Nir Oz resident is a mother of four and grandmother of 12. Her husband David (Sa’id) Moshe was killed in their home on October 7.
- Ohad Munder, 9: The kibbutz spokesperson for Nir Oz said Munder “came to Nir Oz to visit family” when he was abducted alongside family members.
- Doron Katz Asher, 34, Raz Asher, 4, Aviv Asher, 2: Doron visited Nir Oz with her family and was kidnapped with her two daughters, Aviv and Raz, as well as other family members.
Above: Top row, from left: Yafa Adar, Margalit Moses, Ruth Munder, Emilia Aloni and Daniel Aloni. Middle row, from left: Hana Katzir, Adina Moshe, Channa Peri, Doron Katz Asher and Aviv Asher. Bottom row, from left: Ohad Munder, Raz Asher and Keren Munder. Source: Hostages Missing Families Forum/AP