More hostages to be freed; Israeli-owned ship attacked by Iranian drone
An Air Force fighter jet successfully intercepted in the Red Sea area an unmanned aircraft that was on its way to Israeli territory, according to the IDF. The threatening aircraft did not penetrate Israeli territory.
Thirteen Israeli hostages and seven foreign hostages were handed over to the Red Cross just after 11 p.m. on Saturday. Most of the Israelis released today were kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri. They are arriving at the Rafah crossing into Egypt, where they will be checked and transferred into Israel.
At least two terrorists were killed Saturday during IDF operations in Jenin, and several others have been injured. “We are applying intense pressure with a series of operations not seen in the region for years. The armed terror group in the Jenin refugee camp will disband and be neutralized,” according to a senior security official.
Also on Saturday evening, interceptors were launched at two suspicious aerial targets in the Red Sea region. No alerts were activated, leading to concern that it was a false identification. Earlier, the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated against a suspicious target that was approaching the Eilat.
It was reported in Saturday night that senior Hamas figure, Mohammed Hamadeh, a released prisoner who was expelled to the Gaza Strip, was killed in recent IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip. Hamadeh was a spokesperson for Hamas in Jerusalem, and he frequently expressed anti-Israel sentiments and incited violence. Following his actions he received a call from a Shin Bet official who told him to stop, but he ignored his warning and called him a “loser.” He was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted Saturday a situation assessment with security officials to ensure the second batch of hostages proceeded as planned,
In addition, The Egyptian network “Al-Qahira Al-Akhbariya” reported positive developments, indicating that the second batch of hostages will happen in a couple of hours.
Hamas conveyed in an official statement Saturday that it has decided to postpone the release of the captives “until Israel adheres to the conditions of the ceasefire agreement.”
According to the terror organization, Israel is violating the agreement by not allowing enough aid trucks into the Gaza Strip and also “failing to meet the agreed-upon standards for releasing prisoners.”
Israel argues that it has complied with the conditions for the release of Palestinian prisoners, and regarding the entry of aid, as the Kerem Shalom crossing is a small passage – hence, it takes time to bring them all in.
Despite earlier Palestinian reports, the Israeli hostages haven’t been transported yet to the Red Cross.
Similar to Friday, all the security prisoners who are supposed to be released on Saturday in the prisoner exchange deal have arrived at Ofer Prison. They will remain under the Israel Prison Service’s custody until the Israeli captives are returned in the second round of the release. The 42 prisoners designated for release came from Damon and Megiddo prisons.
Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs, accused Israel of not adhering to the agreement to release prisoners in an interview with the American network CNN, warning of a “crisis.”
“Israel is not releasing the prisoners according to the duration of time they served in prison,” Fares claimed. “There are indications of a possible crisis regarding the list of names announced by Israel due to its failure to meet the agreed criteria.”
Egypt has received a list from Hamas of 14 hostages to be released on Saturday, security sources said.
Earlier on Saturday, Israel also said it received a list of hostages to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Hamas.
Meanwhile, IDF Arabic spokesperson Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee addressed the residents of the Gaza Strip, emphasizing that “Firstly, movement to the southern part of the Strip, especially south of Wadi Gaza, will be allowed. Secondly, under no circumstances will return to the northern part of the Strip and north of Wadi Gaza be permitted. The northern area of the Strip is a war zone – and the war has not ended. It is forbidden to enter the sea, and one must not approach within one kilometer of the border with Israel.”
He further clarified, “We demand adherence to these instructions and their implementation – for your safety and the safety of your families.”
Earlier, an interceptor was launched toward a “suspected aerial target,” the IDF said after a siren was activated in northern Israel.
The attack Friday on the CMA CGM Symi comes as global shipping increasingly finds itself targeted in the weekslong war that threatens to become a wider regional conflict — even as a truce has halted fighting and Hamas exchanges hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
The defense official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the Malta-flagged vessel was suspected to have been targeted by a triangle-shaped, bomb-carrying Shahed-136 drone while in international waters. The drone exploded, causing damage to the ship but not injuring any of its crew.
A Hezbollah UAV, which was intercepted after it entered Israeli territory, the army said. The IDF emphasized that the incident had concluded and that the alarm was activated due to concerns that the interceptor’s launch triggered missile and rocket fire.
134 Palestinians who were in Egypt when the war with Israel broke out returned to Gaza on Friday. Meanwhile, 15 trucks that entered the Gaza Strip on Friday delivered supplies to the Jordanian field hospital established in Rafah. In addition, 11 trucks entered a field hospital of the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt admitted 17 wounded individuals from the Strip.
Egypt outright rejected proposals to accept residents of the Gaza Strip into Sinai, even in exchange for economic aid, Lebanon’s Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Saturday morning.
According to the report, “Cairo used the card of withdrawing from the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement, especially in the days leading up to the humanitarian cease-fire, emphasizing that this retreat and the imposition of the situation would have serious security consequences for Israel, as refugee camps would turn Sinai into a tense point again.”
Hostile aircraft alert sounded in several northern Israeli communities Saturday morning. The IDF says that the “incident has concluded” after an interceptor was launched toward the threat.
The IDF downed a surface-to-air missile that was launched from Lebanon toward an IDF UAV, the army said on Saturday. The UAV was not damaged and continued on its mission. The missile did not cross into Israeli territory and no alerts were activated according to protocol.
In response to the launch, IDF fighter jets struck Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure a short while ago. The army later said an interceptor was launched toward a suspicious aerial target. Sirens sounded afterward again as a result of the launch of the interceptor. The incident has concluded.
Hamas is still holding 20 Thai nationals after having freed 10 from Gaza, Thailand’s foreign ministry said on Saturday, following a deal during the first truce of a seven-week war.
The freed hostages will return home after 48 hours in hospital, the ministry said in a statement after the deal brokered separately from Friday’s exchange of hostages for Palestinians from Israeli jails.
“There are now an estimated 20 Thai nationals who remain abducted,” the ministry said, however, adding that four of the Thais released on Friday had not previously been confirmed by Israel to be in captivity.
“We sincerely hope the remaining hostages will be treated humanely and released safely as soon as possible.”