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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
Fifty eight hostages have been released by Hamas over the first three days of the temporary pause to fighting reached with Israel. “Thirteen Israeli women and children have been freed each day, per the deal’s terms, along with varying numbers of other nationals, including citizens of Thailand, Poland, the Philippines, and Russia.” Tara John, Lauren Izso, Tamar Michaelis, Sophie Tanno, and Jerome Taylor report for CNN.
The next group of hostages held by Hamas, around a dozen women and children, are expected to be released today. So far, for every Israeli citizen freed, three Palestinian prisoners — women and children — have been released from Israeli prisons. Israel’s offer to extend the temporary pause a further day for every 10 additional captives released remains open, and Hamas says it could agree to an extension, marking early indications that the temporary pause may be extended. Around 180 people remain captive in Gaza by Hamas, and a Palestinian official said that between 20 to 40 additional Israeli hostages could be freed, requiring a possible further two to four days’ extension of the temporary pause. Hugo Bachega reports for BBC News.
Three Thai citizen hostages released by Hamas yesterday are in good health, according to Thai Prime Minister Sretta Thavisin, in a post on X. The three Thai nationals formed part of the 17 hostages released on the third day of the pause in fighting. Among the Hamas hostages, Thai nationals were the largest single group of foreigners. “For the remaining 15 hostages, the Royal Thai Government continues to exert all efforts towards their safe release at the earliest opportunity,” the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Jennifer Jett reports for NBC News.
The Director of Al-Shifa hospital remains detained by Israeli forces, with a spokesperson for the IDF saying the continued detention is a “good idea” and that the hospital is a “bed of terrorism.” On Saturday, the World Health Organization called for “legal and human rights to be fully observed” during the detention, as three other health workers have also been detained. Niamh Kennedy reports for CNN.
Over 1.7 million people — nearly 80 percent of the population — have been displaced across the Gaza strip since the war began, with over one million sheltering in installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In a statement yesterday, the UNRWA said that 129,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt for the second consecutive day; the fuel has been distributed for food resources, generators at hospitals, and water and sanitation facilities. The statement added that as of Nov. 25, Israeli Authorities had not allowed fuel to reach areas north of Wadi Gaza.
Palestinian militant group Tulkarm Brigades killed two men in the West Bank accused of collaborating with Israel and hung their bodies up as a warning, as fears grow over increased radicalization as the war continues. A statement from the group said there was “no immunity for any informant or traitor…we are on the lookout for him and we will hold him accountable,” adding that anyone who has worked with Israel can come forward and repent until Dec. 5. Footage shared on the Tulkarm Brigades Telegram channel showed a man appearing to confess to working with Israeli authorities, as well as two dead bodies hung from a wall in front of a crowd. The Independent Commission for Human Rights, a Palestinian rights group, criticized extrajudicial killings but said Israel was responsible for recruiting Palestinian agents. Ali Sawafta reports for Reuters.
The Hamas-run Ministry of Health pleaded for help at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, saying the hospital is under “enormous work pressure, especially in the specialties of obstetrics, children, nursery, surgery and orthopedics.” The Israeli military has warned those in the south to not return to the north, where it is conducting military operations. Doha Madani reports for NBC News.
At least 120 aid trucks carrying fuel and cooking gas entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing yesterday, according to the Egyptian government. CNN reports.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday that evidence suggests a misfired rocket was the probable cause of an explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which the Hamas-run health ministry said injured 342 and killed 471 people. An unclassified U.S. intelligence report estimates the death toll “at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum,” and the HRW report says that the Hamas-provided death toll “displays an unusually high killed-to-injured ratio.” “The explosion that killed and injured many civilians …resulted from an apparent rocket-propelled munition, such as those commonly used by Palestinian armed groups,” HRW said. A Senior Hamas official accused the HRW report of being biased towards Israel, while Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on X that the report took “more than a month to reach half heartedly the conclusion the whole world reached after two days.” Emma Farge reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – REGIONAL RESPONSE
Israeli air strikes put Damascus airport out of service yesterday, forcing flights to be diverted elsewhere, according to the Syrian army. In a statement, the Syrian army said its air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles flying from the Golan Heights. No casualties were reported, although material losses were suffered by Damascus. Kinda Makieh reports for Reuters.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi thanked Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday for his work in brokering the temporary pause to fighting in Gaza. In a post on social media, he said he looks “forward to more cooperation that can help meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people and to establish a comprehensive peace in the region.” Mohamed Hindawy and Adhmed Tolba report for Reuters.
Israel’s Mossad intelligence service is hosting its Qatari counterparts to discuss elements of the temporary pause agreement, including hostage releases, an Israeli official said yesterday. Qatari intelligence officers arrived on Saturday for an indefinite stay in Israel, as another official said that the Qataris are working in Israel to “strengthen coordination during the operations and to ensure the process ran smoothly, while coordinating with the operations room in Doha.” Dan Williams and Andrew Mills report for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
The E.U. Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell urged Israel not to “recolonize” Gaza, saying that both Israelis and Palestinians had an “equal and legitimate right to the same land.” He added that a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, was the “best guarantee” for “Israel’s security and peace.” BBC News reports.
Tens of thousands of people, including former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, gathered yesterday in London for a march against anti-Semitism. Other government officials attended the march, as well as U.K. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Marches were seen waving Israeli flags and Union Jacks, with placards reading, “Zero Tolerance for Anti Semites” and “Never Again Is Now.” Sylvia Jui reports for ABC News.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — US RESPONSE
Three Palestinian students were shot near University of Vermont Campus on Saturday, all of whom were wearing a keffiyeh — a traditional scarf — and speaking Arabic when attacked. Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ahmed and Kinnan Abdalhamid were confronted and shot by a man named Jason J. Eaton, according to Bulington police. Local police said two victims were in a stable condition while the third suffered serious injuries. All three students, aged in their 20s, attended a Quaker-run private non-profit school in Ramallah. The families urged police to investigate the attack as a hate crime. Thomas Mackintosh reports for BBC News.
A four-year-old dual citizen of Israel and the U.S. was the first American hostage freed by Hamas yesterday. Abigail Edan spent her fourth birthday in captivity. President Biden, speaking yesterday, said he remains engaged in securing the release of further Americans, adding that “the proof that this is working and worth pursuing further is in every smile and grateful tea we see on the faces of those families…the proof is little Abigail.” There are eight other U.S. citizens and one U.S. green card holder still being held captive by Hamas, according to officials. Mariana Alfaro, Abigail Hauslohner, and Christian Davenport report for the Washington Post.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did not rule out the possibility of sending aid to Israel with conditions. Speaking at an interview yesterday, when asked if he was open to signing legislation to that effect, Sullivan said that “Biden acknowledged that idea…but went on to say that [his] approach, which was high-level private diplomacy – has actually generated results.” Summer Concepcion reports for NBC News.
The White House has suffered internal divisions over Israel, as a group of around 20 staffers met with three senior Biden advisers to discuss the administration’s strategy for reducing civilian deaths, the post-war vision for Gaza, and the international message it plans to send on the conflict. The meeting represents how Biden’s handling of what is likely the biggest foreign policy issue of his presidency is causing divisions inside the White House. White House officials say Biden’s approach to Israel has allowed him to exert credible pressure with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which led to the recent fighting pause-hostage deal. Meanwhile, at a meeting with five prominent Muslim Americans, who said Biden was insensitive to the civilians dying in Gaza, Biden responded saying, “I’m sorry. I’m disappointed in myself,”and that he will “do better.” Yasmeen Abutaleb and John Hudson report for the Washington Post.
An Israeli-controlled container ship was hit by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean on Friday, a U.S. defense official said. Speaking on Saturday, the official said the vessel was struck by an unmanned aerial vehicle, which appeared to be an Iranian Shahed drone, the same type of drones Iran has supplied to Russia for use in Ukraine. Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan OFer, said the “vessel in question is currently sailing as planned. All crew are safe and well.” No injuries were reported although minor damage was sustained. Aziz El Yaakoubi reports for Reuters.
Two ballistic missiles which landed approximately ten nautical miles from a U.S. warship in the Gulf of Aden were launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen, the U.S. military said yesterday. Beforehand, the USS Mason, a tanker, was carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when its crew noticed they were “under attack from an unknown entity,” the US Central Command said in a statement on X. Allied ships in the Gulf of Aden responded and “demanded release of the vessel” upon arrival. “Five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat … the Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender.” Hours later, the two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen “toward the general location” of the USS Mason, the statement said. All crew and the vessel were unharmed. Haley Britzky reports for CNN.
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao pledged to strengthen bilateral trade ties with Vietnam during a meeting with the Vietnamese Prime Minister on Saturday. Wang said China-Vietnam relations have already produced “fruitful results” and areas for development include digital economy and cross-border e-commerce, according to the Chinese ministry. Laurie Chen reports for Reuters.
Kuwait’s former defense minister was jailed for seven years yesterday for mishandling military funds. Former Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, who faced similar charges, was ordered by Kuwait’s highest court to return the funds he mismanaged. Ahmed Haggagy reports for Reuters.
Two Chinese fighter jets were “orbiting” a Philippine patrol aircraft in the South China Sea, Manila said yesterday. The Philippine military was carrying out exercises with Australia in the exclusive economic zone, just days after Manila carried out patrols with the U.S. The Chinese aircraft continued its flight route and no untoward incidents took place. The military chief of the Philippines said the country has rights to conduct joint patrols to endorse the “rule-based international order.” Karen Lema reports for Reuters.
Ukraine suffered the biggest drone attacks since the war began, Kyiv’s city mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said yesterday. Officials said more than 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones were launched at the capital on Saturday; all but one were shot down. No deaths were reported but at least five people were wounded, including an 11 year old. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy labeled the strikes an act of “wilful terror,” adding that his country will “continue to unite the world in defense against Russian terror.” James Waterhouse reports for BBC News.
Russia downed at least 24 Ukrainian drones yesterday over the Moscow region, just one day after the mass drone strikes on Kyiv, according to Russian authorities. The governor of the Moscow region said the drone strikes damaged three buildings, but no casualties have been reported. Moscow’s Vnuokovo and Domodedovo airports briefly closed due to the strikes according to Russian state-run media, but both resumed operation yesterday morning. Also on yesterday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that two Soviet-manufactured rockets fired by Kyiv were shot down over the sea of Azov. AP News reports.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the high number of daily Russian casualties which Ukraine has claimed to have inflicted recently is “plausible.” “The last six weeks have likely seen some of the highest Russian casualty rates of the war so far … the heavy losses have largely been caused by Russia’s offensive against the Donbas town of Avdiivka,” the Ministry said. Ukraine reported throughout November that Russian casualties were averaging at 931 per day, while “previously the deadliest reported month for Russia was March 2023 with an average of 776 losses per day,” the Ukrainian Ministry said on X. Holly Ellyatt reports for CNBC.