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HomeTop StoriesIsrael-Hamas war live updates: Israeli government and Hamas agree hostage deal; Al-Shifa...

Israel-Hamas war live updates: Israeli government and Hamas agree hostage deal; Al-Shifa hospital sees more evacuations


Palestinian leader welcomes hostage release deal

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the international community to stop Israel’s aggression and bombardments in the Gaza Strip.

Christophe Ena | Afp | Getty Images

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has welcomed a humanitarian pause and hostage release agreement brokered between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, thanking mediators Qatar and Egypt, an official said.

“We renew the call for a comprehensive cessation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, the introduction of humanitarian aid, and the implementation of a political solution based on international legitimacy, leading to an end to the occupation and the Palestinian people gaining their freedom, independence, and sovereignty,” Palestinian Authority aide Hussein al-Sheikh said on social media, in a statement attributed to the leadership and Abbas.

Abbas’ administration, based in Ramallah in the West Bank, has received the visits and support of several top international officials since the start of the conflict, amid efforts to build longer-standing peace.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli military says it uncovered 400 tunnel shafts in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces said they uncovered and destroyed approximately 400 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip, according to a Telegram update.

“Hamas have embedded its network of terrorist tunnels below population centers across the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said. “Many of the shafts leading to its tunnel network are located within civilian hospitals, schools and homes.”

CNBC could not independently confirm the report.

Israel has repeatedly said that a spiderweb of Hamas tunnels spans the subterranean territory of the Gaza Strip and invoked the presence of such infrastructure and other command posts as justification for attacking civilian facilities. The country has come under significant international pressure to prove the existence of such tunnels since the Israeli military stormed the Al-Shifa hospital.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel expects to recover first hostages on Thursday, foreign minister says

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen at a press conference on Sept. 4, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Israel expects to recover the first hostages freed by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Army Radio, according to Reuters.

The transfer will take place as part of a broader deal setting out hostage releases and a humanitarian pause. The agreement was brokered on Tuesday.

Under the deal terms, 50 civilian hostages abducted into the Gaza Strip by Hamas during the terror attacks of Oct. 7 will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, according to the government of Qatar, which was involved in the negotiations.

More people could be recovered in the later stages of the agreement, the ministry added.

Ruxandra Iordache

Erdogan says Ankara ‘cannot and will not tolerate’ Israeli policies in Gaza Strip

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once more criticized Israel, saying Ankara “cannot and will not tolerate” its policies of “depopulating” the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan, who previously called Israel as a “terror state,” was giving a speech at the Turkey-Algeria business forum, according to Google-translated comments carried by Turkish state news outlet Anadolu.

“We cannot and will not tolerate the policy of the State of Israel … to render Gaza uninhabited,” he said, pledging that Israel “will not commit similar brutality again.”

Israel has repeatedly stated the aim of its campaign in the Gaza Strip is to demilitarize Hamas, rather than harm civilians.

“I would like to express once again the importance of us, as the Islamic world, supporting the Palestinian cause,” Erdogan said. Turkey has contributed convoys of humanitarian aid in support of the Gaza Strip.

Ruxandra Iordache

Erdogan says Ankara ‘cannot and will not tolerate’ Israeli policies in Gaza Strip

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once more criticized Israel, saying Ankara “cannot and will not tolerate” its policies of “depopulating” the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan, who previously called Israel as a “terror state,” was giving a speech at the Turkey-Algeria business forum, according to Google-translated comments carried by Turkish state news outlet Anadolu.

“We cannot and will not tolerate the policy of the State of Israel … to render Gaza uninhabited,” he said, pledging that Israel “will not commit similar brutality again.”

Israel has repeatedly stated the aim of its campaign in the Gaza Strip is to demilitarize Hamas, rather than harm civilians.

“I would like to express once again the importance of us, as the Islamic world, supporting the Palestinian cause,” Erdogan said. Turkey has contributed convoys of humanitarian aid in support of the Gaza Strip.

Ruxandra Iordache

EU’s Borrell says de-escalating Israel-Hamas conflict is a “race against the clock”

In an extensive blog post, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell laid out the findings of his trips to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan, stressing there is a “race against the clock is obviously on to bring about a de-escalation of the military operations in Gaza and of the violence in the West Bank.”

Borrell said he walked away with “a sense of absolute urgency, particularly due to the dramatic situation in Gaza,” as well as entertained a “very moving moment” of meeting the families of Israeli hostages who are concerned about the health and welfare of captives.

“For many of them the memory of the Holocaust resurfaced again: ‘they did it to us just because we are Jews,'” Borrell said.

EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell talks to the press as he arrives to attend the European Political Community summit at the Palacio de Congreso in Granada, southern Spain on October 5, 2023.

Jorge Guerrero | Afp | Getty Images

Simultaneously condemning the “crimes” committed by Hamas on Oct. 7, the envoy emphasized that “one horror cannot justify another” and urged further humanitarian aid for the greatly embattled Gaza Strip, adding, “It is of course necessary to provide food, water and medicines but it is even more important to reduce the risk of being killed the next morning.”

He also drew attention to the “dramatic increase in violence against Palestinians by settlers” in the occupied West Bank, characterized by armed incursions, village evictions and the steep cuts in the Palestinian Authority’s budget decided by the Israeli government.

Altogether, this is “creating tremendous tension, which probably cannot be contained for long,” but the desire to avoid an escalation of the Israel-Hamas war is “also strong and widely shared” by the leaders of the Gulf region, Borrell said.

Ruxandra Iordache

Jordanian government welcomes hostage deal

Jordan has welcomed the hostage release and humanitarian pause agreement struck by Israel and Hamas and brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the U.S.

In a Google-translated statement, the country’s foreign ministry praised the deal and expressed hopes of it stopping the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict and the targeting and displacement of Palestinian people. The statement also stressed the importance of the deal contributing to allowing humanitarian access to aid supplies.

Jordan has previously doled out bruising criticism of Israel, alleging the country was committing “war crimes” in the Gaza Strip. Israel maintains its war campaign in the enclave does not target civilians.

Ruxandra Iordache

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman calls for no more weapons to Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks on during a signing ceremony at the Maximos Mansion, in Athens, Greece, July 26, 2022.

Louiza Vradi | Reuters

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman urged countries to cease weapon provisions for Israel in an extraordinary session of the BRICS economic coalition of emerging markets, which includes heavyweights Russia and China.

The meeting of the alliance, to which Saudi Arabia was invited earlier this year, followed an extraordinary Nov. 11 Arab and Islamic summit in Riyadh to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Condemning the “brutal crimes against and the destruction of infrastructure, including health facilities and places of worship, in Gaza,” Mohammed bin Salman said, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, that the summit denounced “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” called for humanitarian food, fuel and medicine deliveries to the enclave and rejected the “forcible displacement of the Palestinian people.”

It also urged “all countries to stop exporting weapons and ammunition to Israel, and embark on an effort, in the name of all members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab League, to reach an international stance regarding the aggression on Gaza, and make a pressure for the launch of a serious political process to realize a permanent, comprehensive peace, based on international legitimacy.”

This is so far one of the strongest stances taken by Saudi Arabia against Israel in the latest conflict, after Riyadh broadly denounced harm against civilians caught in the crossfire in the Gaza Strip. In late October, a speech by the kingdom’s prominent Prince Turki al-Faisal — which condemned both Hamas and Israeli violence in the war — was widely seen as reflective of Riyadh’s position.

This comes amid a recent U.S. push to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, its closest allies in the Middle East.

Ruxandra Iordache

Ambulances arrive at Al-Shifa hospital for more evacuations

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said 14 ambulances are present at the Al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip to facilitate more evacuations.

“14 PRCS ambulances arrived Al-Shifa Hospital to evacuate the wounded and patients,” it said on social media.

The PRCS, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and a U.N. humanitarian branch, on Sunday carried out the evacuation of 31 premature babies from Al-Shifa, after Israeli military raided the hospital premises. The infants had to be prioritized, as the life support equipment that sustained them had collapsed because of fuel shortages.

The WHO said earlier this week that plans were being made to evacuate more patients.

Ruxandra Iordache

Ambulances arrive at Al-Shifa hospital for more evacuations

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said 14 ambulances are present at the Al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip to facilitate more evacuations.

“14 PRCS ambulances arrived Al-Shifa Hospital to evacuate the wounded and patients,” it said on social media.

The PRCS, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and a U.N. humanitarian branch, on Sunday carried out the evacuation of 31 premature babies from Al-Shifa, after Israeli military raided the hospital premises. The infants had to be prioritized, as the life support equipment that sustained them had collapsed because of fuel shortages.

The WHO said earlier this week that plans were being made to evacuate more patients.

Ruxandra Iordache

Lebanese prime minister criticizes Israel for airstrike that killed Lebanese journalists

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati during official visit to Rome on March 16, 2023.

Antonio Masiello | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati strongly condemned an attack that killed two journalists and several civilians, which he attributed to Israel.

“This attack proves once again that there are no limits to Israeli crime, and that its goal is to silence the media that exposes its crimes and attacks,” he said, according to a Google-translated statement.

On Tuesday, Lebanese state media outlet Al Mayadeen said that two of its journalists — correspondent Farah Omar and cameraman Rabih Al-Me’mari — were killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Israel has been exchanging frequent fire with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which backs Mikati, since the start of the war against Hamas.

Reuters reported that the Israeli military said it was “aware of a claim regarding journalists … who were killed as a result of an Israeli offensive.”

“This is an area with active hostilities, where exchange of fire occur. Presence in the area is dangerous,” it said.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli military says will continue with aim of dismantling Hamas outside of humanitarian pause

Israeli Army spokesperson for international media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces stressed that the Israeli military will continue its mission of dismantling Palestinian militant group Hamas outside of the recently agreed humanitarian pause between the two war parties.

“The aim of our war against Hamas is to dismantle Hamas and that what we’re seeing now is just one milestone in the bigger scheme of things, to get an opportunity to get hostages back and then we will continue fighting Hamas until we eradicate them,” Jonathan Conricus told MSNBC.

Dubbing Hamas a “corrupt and hateful organization,” he added, “They’re only using our hostages for political leverage, we keep that in mind.”

The IDF is continuing its ground incursion and airstrikes into the Gaza Strip, Conricus noted, signaling that “fighting is not done in northern Gaza” and that the military will proceed with its operation “until anything changes, until there is any type of agreement.”

Israel has faced a wave of international scrutiny over its activity in the Gaza Strip, particularly its advances against civilian sites — such as the enclave’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa — that it says are weaponized by Hamas for military purposes. The Israeli military maintains it does not set out to target Palestinian civilians as part of its campaign.

“When we took the Shifa compound, not a single Palestinian civilian was wounded or killed. And that is not by chance,” Conricus said.

Ruxandra Iordache

France hopes for release of its hostages after Israel, Hamas truce

France hopes its eight citizens believed held as hostages will be released as a result of a truce deal between Israel and Hamas, Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna said on Wednesday.

“We hope that there will be French people among the first batch of hostages to be released,” Colonna told France Inter radio.

Israel’s government and Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a four-day pause infighting to allow the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and the entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

— Reuters

Blinken hails hostage release deal as ‘significant progress’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the deal to release hostages as “significant progress.”

“Today’s outcome is the result of tireless diplomacy and relentless effort across the United States government,” Blinken said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

He said the fight to release the rest of the hostages held by Hamas militants will continue.

“While this deal marks significant progress, we will not rest as long as Hamas continues to hold hostages in Gaza.”

— Joanna Tan

Biden says its important for Israel-Hamas deal to be ‘fully implemented’

President Joe Biden has thanked the leaders of Qatar and Egypt for their “critical leadership and partnership” in helping to strike the temporary cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

The humanitarian pause will allow 50 civilian women and children to be released in exchange for Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, according to Qatar, which was part of the negotiation effort.

“I appreciate the commitment that [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government have made in supporting an extended pause to ensure this deal can be fully carried out and to ensure the provision of additional humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian families in Gaza,” Biden said in a statement.

The President said that his highest priority is to ensure the safety of Americans held hostage around the world. 

“It is important that all aspects of this deal be fully implemented,” he added.

Joanna Tan

Qatar says there will be a humanitarian pause in Gaza, 50 hostages held by Hamas to be released

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip that will last for at least four days, Qatar announced Wednesday.

In a post on X, previously Twitter, Qatar said: “The agreement includes the release of 50 civilian women and children hostages currently held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of a number of Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons.”

The number of those released will increase in the later stages of the agreement, according to the ministry of foreign affairs in Qatar.

The time of the temporary cease-fire will be announced within 24 hours, and will “last for four days, subject to extension.”

Read the full story here.

Joanna Tan

Israeli cabinet votes to approve hostage deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz (not pictured) in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv , Israel , 28 October 2023. 

Abir Sultan | Reuters

The Israeli government voted Tuesday night to accept a deal that would release some hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

The vote came just after 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning in Israel following more than six hours of discussion between Israeli cabinet members.

In a statement, the Israeli government said it approved “the first stage” of hostage release, which will free 50 of the roughly 240 hostages that Hamas currently holds. It said that the first tranche of hostages would be women and children, who will be released over the course of four days. During that four-day time period, Israel agreed to halt its bombardments to ensure their safe passage.

The statement also said that the war will continue.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the security services will continue the war in order to return home all of the hostages, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza,” the Israeli government said.

The Israeli government noted that as part of the deal, it will agree to extend the temporary cease-fire one additional day for every additional ten hostages that Hamas releases.

A statement from Hamas said that in exchange for the 50 freed hostages, Israel will release 150 Palestinian women and children prisoners. A senior Israeli official told NBC earlier on Tuesday that the Palestinian prisoners did not directly kill Israelis themselves but rather played supporting roles in the crimes. Israel did not address this part of the deal in its statement.

Per Israeli policy, families of the victims of the Palestinian prisoners would have 24 hours to appeal their release to the Israeli Supreme Court. That means that no deal signed tonight will be able to take effect and is therefore not final until at least that 24-hour window is over.

Rebecca Picciotto

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage:





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