Gil Cohen-Magen Agence France-Presse In Tel Aviv, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered on Saturday evening in Hostage Square. Thirteen Israelis and four Thais returned to Israel via Egypt on Saturday, including 21-year-old Maya Regev.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Hazel Ward – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Tel-Aviv
November 26, 2023
- Middle East
Seventeen hostages, including 14 Israelis, held in the Gaza Strip for seven weeks, were released on Sunday on the third day of truce in the war between Hamas and Israel, which in exchange released 39 Palestinian prisoners.
Also on Sunday, long convoys of international aid continued to enter the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip from Egypt under the truce agreement reached through US, Qatari and Egyptian mediation and entered into force on the 49th day of the war.
Among the hostages released on Sunday was a four-year-old girl with American nationality, named Abigail, welcomed American President Joe Biden.
< p>A Russo-Israeli, who is not part of the exchange agreement and whose release was negotiated directly by Moscow, was also released according to Hamas, “in response” to “support for the Palestinian cause” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Three Thai hostages, also outside the exchange agreement, were also released.
These releases, announced by the Israeli army, bring to 58 the total number of hostages held in Gaza released to 58 since Friday, including 18, the vast majority Thais, not affected by the agreement.
- An important military leader of Hamas killed in an Israeli strike, according to the organization
- New release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners
A total of 117 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons were released at the same time, including 39 on Sunday evening, according to a ratio of one hostage for three prisoners determined by the agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and affirmed that the Israeli offensive there would continue “until victory.”
“ We are doing everything possible to recover the kidnapped people, and we will eventually recover them all,” promised Mr. Netanyahu, the first Israeli head of government to visit Gaza since the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territory in 2005.
The army estimated the total number of hostages taken to Gaza on October 7, during the bloody attack by Hamas on Israeli territory, at 240. According to Israeli authorities, 1,200 people, the vast majority civilians, were killed in this attack.
In retaliation, Israel promised to “eliminate” the Palestinian Islamist movement which took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
Until the truce came into force on Friday, Israel bombed relentlessly since the 7 October the Palestinian territory where it launched a ground offensive on October 27.
According to the Hamas government, 14,854 people, including 6,150 under the age of 18, were killed by Israeli strikes. Gaza Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Bassel estimated that 7,000 people were missing.
The truce offered Gazans some respite, but the humanitarian situation in the territory is “dangerous.” and “unprecedented” needs, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) was alarmed on Sunday.
“Agree to extend the truce”
Joe Biden said on Sunday he hoped that the four-day truce, which is due to end on Monday, could continue “beyond tomorrow”.
France hopes that the truce in Gaza will last until the release of “all the hostages”, for its part declared its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna.
A source close to Hamas told AFP on Sunday that the Palestinian movement had “informed the Qatari and Egyptian mediators” that the armed groups holding Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip had “agreed to extend the current truce from two to four days.”
The agreement provides for the exchange of 50 Hamas hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners during the four days of this truce, which may be extended. Beyond the first four days, the release of “ten additional hostages will lead to an additional day of break,” Israel said.
Around 7,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons, according to the Prisoners' Club, a Palestinian NGO defending prisoners.
Hamas also announced on Sunday the deaths on an unspecified date, during the offensive Israeli, five leaders of the movement, including the military commander of the Northern Gaza Brigade, Ahmed al-Ghandour, considered a “terrorist” by the United States since 2017.
“200 trucks per day”
The truce agreement also includes the entry of humanitarian aid and fuel into Gaza, where Israel has imposed a total siege since October 9. These cargoes, whose entry from Egypt is subject to the Israeli green light, have been arriving in recent weeks in trickles.
Since Friday, 248 trucks loaded with aid have been able to enter, according to the UN.
On Sunday, part of the cargoes were to be transported to the north and Gaza City, like the day before, where “there is neither drinking water nor food”, an UNRWA spokesperson told AFP. in Gaza, Adnan Abou Hasna.
“We should send 200 trucks a day for at least two months to meet the needs,” he added.
“It’s is the third day of truce, they are talking about bringing aid and fuel but I have been at the gas station for nine hours and it is still closed,” lamented Bilal Diab, a Palestinian interviewed in Khan Younes by the 'AFP.
The Israeli army considers the northern third of the Gaza Strip to be a combat zone housing the center of Hamas infrastructure. She ordered the population to leave and banned anyone from returning.
Despite this warning, thousands of displaced Gaza residents took advantage of the truce to try to return home to the North .
In the city of Gaza, transformed into a field of ruins, residents, some dragging meager bundles, walked through the dust, between piles of rubble, the streets lined with devastated buildings, according to reports. images from AFP.
Others, from the north, have taken the path to the south, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people are already massed.
Hospitals overwhelmed in the southern Gaza Strip continue to receive many wounded evacuated from the north, where almost all health establishments are shut down.
More than half of the territory's housing has been damaged or damaged. destroyed, according to the UN, and 1.7 million people were displaced, out of 2.4 million inhabitants.