Israel’s war on Gaza latest: Hamas to release another 14 Israeli hostages in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners

Published Nov 25, 2023


Hamas is expected to release another 14 Israeli hostages in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners on Saturday, the second day of a four-day truce in their seven-week war.

On Friday evening the Palestinian Islamist group freed 13 Israelis and Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners from its jails, hours after the truce took hold.

Hamas snatched about 240 captives from southern Israel in an October 7 attack that Israeli officials say killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas and unleashed a withering aerial bombing campaign and ground operation in Gaza that the Hamas government says has killed nearly 15,000 people, also mostly civilians.

Here are four key developments from the past 24 hours:

More to be freed

Israeli officials said 14 hostages and 42 Palestinian prisoners would be released on Saturday, as the second day of the truce appeared to be holding in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages -- all women and children and including dual citizens -- along with 10 Thais and one Filipino who were also seized in the October 7 attack.

About 215 hostages are still held in Gaza, the Israeli army has said, adding however that in many cases it is unknown if they are alive or dead.

Under the truce deal brokered by Qatar with help from Egypt and the United States, Hamas is expected to free a total of 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Gaza relief

AFPTV live footage showed a stream of trucks carrying desperately needed aid lining up to enter the Gaza Strip for the second successive day.

The United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, said 137 trucks carrying fuel, food, water, medicine and other essentials had passed into the embattled Palestinian territory via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Friday.

Twenty-one critical patients were also evacuated.

OCHA said a total of 200 trucks had been sent from the Israeli village of Nitzana to the Rafah crossing on Friday.

- Drone hits Israeli-owned ship -

A drone suspected of being launched by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has struck an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, according to a US defence official.

"We are aware of reports that there was a suspected IRGC-initiated Shahed-136 UAV (that) struck a civilian motor vessel in the Indian Ocean" on Friday, the official said, adding it caused minor damage and nobody was injured.

The attack, also reported by the maritime security company Ambrey, comes almost a week after Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea.

The Huthis have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since October.

Israel strikes Lebanon's Hezbollah

The Israeli army said it shot down a surface-to-air missile fired from Lebanon and targeting an Israeli drone.

The missile did not cross into Israeli territory, the military said on Saturday, adding that it deployed fighter jets to strike Hezbollah infrastructure in response.

Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, has yet to say whether it will comply with the terms of the agreed pause between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group.

The cross-border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah have killed 109 people in Lebanon, at least 77 of them Hezbollah fighters, according to an AFP count.

On the Israeli side, six soldiers and three civilians have been killed, according to Israeli authorities.

Agence France-Presse