Israel-Hamas war: Gaza ceasefire to begin as first 13 women and children to be freed

David Cameron visits Israel as Hamas hostage deal delayed

The “war is not over”, Israel’s military has warned civilians in Gaza as a four-day ceasefire aimed at facilitating the exchange of Hamas hostages and Palestinian prisoners came into effect.

Speaking in Arabic, an Israel Defence Forces spokesperson told Gaza civilians they should not try to return to the north of the strip during the pause in fighting, as it “is a dangerous war zone and it is forbidden to be there”.

The four-day ceasefire began at 7am on Friday, and Qatar’s foreign ministry said 13 women and children taken hostage by Hamas on 7 October would be released via Egypt at 4pm – the first of at least 50 captives set to be freed under the deal. Increased aid for Palestinians will also start to enter Gaza “as soon as possible”, it said.

Israel will simultaneously release 24 women and 15 teenage boys held in military jails, Palestine’s commissioner for prisoners said.

Sirens sounded in two Israeli villages just minutes after the truce came into force, but there was no immediate confirmation of any rocket attacks.

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WHO ‘extremely concerned’ about safety of patients and medics in Al Shifa hospital

The World Health Organisation said it would work on further evacuations from northern Gaza hospitals as soon as possible after the ceasefire began, voicing fears for the safety of those remaining in Al Shifa Hospital.

“We’re extremely concerned about the safety of the estimated 100 patients and health workers remaining at Al Shifa,” said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.

He declined to react to comments from the Gaza health ministry saying it was suspending cooperation with the global health agency amid reports that Israel is holding medical staff for questioning.

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 11:29
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‘War is not over,’ IDF warns Gaza as ceasefire begins

“The war is not over yet,” the Israeli Defence Forces has warned civilians in Gaza, as the four-day ceasefire came into effect.

“The humanitarian pause is temporary,” spokesperson Avichay Adraee said in Arabic, in a video posted to Twitter/X. “The northern Gaza Strip is a dangerous war zone and it is forbidden to move north. For your safety, you must remain in the humanitarian zone in the south.

“It is only possible to move from the north of the Strip to the south via Salah al-Din Road. The movement of residents from the south of the Strip to the north is not allowed and dangerous.”

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 11:04
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Islamic Jihad claims captured soldiers will only be freed in exchange for all Palestinians in Israeli prisons

The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group has claimed that Israeli soldiers among the 240 hostages held by militant groups in Gaza will only be released in exchange for all the Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Islamic Jihad is reportedly holding about 40 of the hostages who were captured by Hamas and other militant groups during their Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. Over the next four days, 50 hostages are to be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, with both sides releasing women and children first.

In a televised speech, Ziad Nakhaleh, the leader of Islamic Jihad – reported to be holding around 40 hostages captured on 7 October – said that “the enemy’s military prisoners will not be released without the freedom of our prisoners and this is linked to the end of the aggression.”

He claimed Israel would be forced to “eventually reach a deal of everyone in return for everyone.” It was not immediately clear how many of the hostages held in Gaza are currently serving in the military and whether the militants also consider reserve soldiers to be military hostages.

Close to 7,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel on security charges, including about 1,800 arrested since the start of the war.

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 10:52
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‘Blowback’ from Israel-Hamas war radicalisation will be felt for years, warns British official

European security officials are seeing a growing risk of attacks by Islamists radicalised by the Israel-Hamas war, with the biggest threat likely to come from “lone wolf” assailants who are hard to track.

More than 10 intelligence and police officials in five European countries including Britain, Germany and France told Reuters they are increasing surveillance of Islamist militants.

This will put a further burden on resources already stretched by dealing with perceived threats from Russia, China and Iran, in what London police chief Mark Rowley calls “one of the most challenging convergence of threats I have ever seen”.

A British security official said the war in Gaza was likely to become the biggest recruiter for Islamist militants since the Iraq war in 2003, and warned that calls for attacks on Jewish and Western targets had risen in Europe.

“There is going to be a blowback that is going to be felt for years,” the British official said.

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 10:34
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Live: UN gives briefing on humanitarian crisis as Israel and Hamas begin four-day ceasefire

You can watch live here as the UN provides a briefing on the first day of the temporary ceasefire:

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 10:18
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‘Child rights are the pawns of adult geopolitics,’ says Save the Children

It is “deeply concerning that child rights become the pawns of the geopolitics of adults”, Save the Children has said, in response to today’s exchange of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

“The issues of children in Israeli military prisons is a longstanding human rights concern,” James Denselow from Save the Children UK told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We know that a large number of the children are boys. We know that many of the issues they’re being detained for are around stone-throwing, damaged property and vandalism.

“But obviously it’s deeply concerning that child rights become the pawns of the geopolitics of adults, when you’re seeing child hostages being swapped for child detainees.”

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 10:02
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Watch: Footage shows kitchen and rooms inside tunnel shafts under al Shifa Hospital, says IDF

Footage shows kitchen and rooms inside tunnel shafts under al Shifa Hospital
Andy Gregory24 November 2023 09:43
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Sunak hails ‘critical’ humanitarian pause in Gaza

Rishi Sunak has thanked Qatar and Egpyt for the “intensive diplomacy” required in getting the “critical” humanitarian pause in Gaza over the line.

“This humanitarian pause is critical to end the terrible ordeal of hostages held by Hamas and get life-saving aid into Gaza,” said the prime minister.

“I want to thank Qatar, Egypt and others for the intensive diplomacy that has got us here. We will not stop until all hostages are safely returned.”

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 09:25
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Israel will free nearly 40 Palestinian prisoners today, top official says

Israel will release 39 Palestinian prisoners on Friday, Palestine’s commissioner for prisoners has said.

Some 24 women and 15 teenage boys – all of them from either the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem – will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Israel’s Ofer military jail around 4pm local time, Qadura Fares told Reuters.

“After the Red Cross receives the [Palestinian] prisoners, the ones from Jerusalem will go to Jerusalem and the ones from the West Bank will gather in Betunia municipal council where their families will be waiting,” Mr Fares told Reuters.

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 09:10
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His US teenage son won’t be among the freed Hamas hostages: ‘Hopefully he is alive’

As millions of Americans gather together for turkey and pumpkin pie, one New York family is desperately missing their 19-year-old son, who is still being held hostage by Hamas.

“Today is Thanksgiving. As Americans we have an empty seat at the table — you do not want to live in my universe,” his father Ruby Chen told The Independent.

His son Itay Chen was captured by the militant group during the deadly attack on October 7 that killed 1,200 civilians in Israel. Earlier this week a major diplomatic and humanitarian breakthrough was reached, with 50 women and children hostages expected to be released by Hamas on Friday morning. Part of the deal is a four day ceasefire to allow the removal of the hostages, and rare respite for Palestinain civilians barely surviving under ferocious Israeli bombardment of the besieged strip.

Teenage Itay – who was a member of the Israeli military stationed near Gaza – is not expected to be freed yet.

Bel Trew and Mike Bedigan have the full report:

Andy Gregory24 November 2023 08:52

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