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USA

Hamas releases third group of hostages as a part of truce deal, whereas Netanyahu visits Gaza

JERUSALEM (AP) — The delicate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was again on observe Sunday because the militants freed 17 extra hostages, together with 14 Israelis and the primary American, in a 3rd set of releases underneath a four-day truce that the U.S. stated it hoped can be prolonged.

Some hostages have been handed over on to Israel, whereas others left via Egypt. Israel’s military stated one was airlifted to a hospital. U.S. President Joe Biden stated the aged lady was “very sick and was in want of speedy medical assist.” A whole bunch of Israelis draped in flags cheered and sang as freed hostages, waving, arrived at an air pressure base. They have been being flown to hospitals.

The hostages ranged in age from 4 to 84 and included Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old lady and twin citizen whose mother and father have been killed within the Hamas assault that began the conflict on Oct. 7. “What she endured was unthinkable,” Biden stated of the primary American freed underneath the truce. He didn’t know her situation. He didn’t have updates on different American hostages and stated his purpose was to increase the cease-fire deal so long as potential.

In all, 9 kids ages 17 and youthful have been on the listing, in keeping with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s workplace. Individually, Hamas stated it launched a Russian hostage “in response to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” The Russian-Israeli citizen was the primary male hostage to be freed.

Israel’s jail service later stated it had begun the method of releasing 39 Palestinian prisoners. A convoy of autos was seen leaving Ofer army jail within the occupied West Financial institution.

A fourth change is anticipated on Monday — the final day of the cease-fire throughout which a complete of fifty hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners are to be freed. All are girls and minors.

Worldwide mediators led by the U.S., Egypt and Qatar try to increase the cease-fire that started Friday.

Forward of the most recent launch, Netanyahu visited the Gaza Strip, the place he spoke with troops. “We’re making each effort to return our hostages, and on the finish of the day we’ll return each one,” he stated, including that “we’re persevering with till the tip, till victory. Nothing will cease us.” It was not instantly clear the place he went inside Gaza.

A BREAK IN THE FIGHTING

The cease-fire settlement has introduced the primary vital pause in seven weeks of conflict, marked by the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in a long time and huge destruction and displacement throughout the Gaza Strip.

Greater than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, roughly two thirds of them girls and minors, in keeping with the Well being Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The conflict has claimed the lives of greater than 1,200 Israelis, principally civilians killed by Hamas within the preliminary assault.

Hamas and different militant teams seized round 240 folks in the course of the incursion into southern Israel that ignited the conflict. Fifty-eight have been launched, one was freed by Israeli forces and two have been discovered useless inside Gaza.

Households from the southern Israeli city of Kfar Aza embraced, cried, and applauded on the information that hostages from their city had arrived in Israel. Greater than 70 members of the kibbutz of round 700 folks have been killed and 18 have been kidnapped.

Stress from hostages’ households has sharpened the dilemma going through Israel’s leaders, who search to eradicate Hamas as a army and governing energy whereas returning all of the captives.

Israel has stated the truce will be prolonged by an additional day for each extra 10 hostages freed, however has vowed to shortly resume its offensive as soon as it ends. The U.S. stated it’s working with all sides on the likelihood that the deal will get prolonged to extra hostages.

HAMAS COMMANDER KILLED

Hamas introduced the dying of Ahmed al-Ghandour, who was accountable for northern Gaza and a member of its prime army council. He’s the highest-ranking militant identified to have been killed within the combating. Israel’s army confirmed the dying.

Al-Ghandour, believed to have been round 56 years outdated, had survived at the very least three Israeli makes an attempt on his life and was concerned in a cross-border assault in 2006 by which Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier, in keeping with the Counter Extremism Challenge, an advocacy group based mostly in Washington.

Hamas stated that he was killed together with three different senior militants, together with Ayman Siam, who Israel says was accountable for Hamas’ rocket-firing unit. The Israeli army talked about each males in a Nov. 16 assertion, saying it had focused an underground advanced the place Hamas leaders have been hiding.

The Israeli army claims to have killed 1000’s of militants, with out offering proof, together with a number of mid-ranking commanders it has recognized by title.

AID AND RESPITE IN GAZA

The pause has given some respite to Gaza’s 2.3 million folks, nonetheless reeling from relentless Israeli bombardment that has pushed three-quarters of the inhabitants from their properties and leveled residential areas. Rocket fireplace from Gaza militants into Israel additionally went silent.

Battle-weary Palestinians in northern Gaza, the place the offensive has targeted, returned to the streets. Complete metropolis blocks in and round Gaza Metropolis have been gutted by airstrikes.

A whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals from the north have sought refuge within the south. Palestinians who’ve tried to return to the north to see if their properties are intact have been turned again by Israeli troops.

“They open fireplace on anybody approaching from the south,” stated Rami Hazarein, who fled from Gaza Metropolis final month.

The Israeli army has ordered Palestinians to not return to the north or strategy inside a kilometer (round a half-mile) of the border fence. The Palestinian Pink Crescent rescue service stated Israeli forces opened fireplace Sunday on two farmers in central Gaza, killing one and wounding the opposite. An Israeli army spokesperson stated they weren’t conscious of the incident.

The United Nations stated the truce has made it potential to scale up the supply of meals, water, and drugs to the biggest quantity because the begin of the conflict, although it nonetheless hasn’t reached prewar ranges. It was in a position to ship gas for the primary time because the conflict started, and to succeed in areas within the north for the primary time in a month.

The Palestinian Pink Crescent Society stated 50 Egyptian support vans crossed via checkpoints to succeed in Gaza Metropolis and northern areas Sunday.

HOSTAGES FOR PRISONERS

The freed hostages have principally stayed out of the general public eye. Hospitals stated their bodily situation has largely been good. Little is publicly identified concerning the situations of their captivity. Eyal Nouri, the nephew of Adina Moshe, 72, who was freed on Friday, stated his aunt “needed to alter to the daylight” as a result of she had been in darkness for weeks.

Many Palestinians view prisoners held by Israel, together with these implicated in assaults, as heroes resisting occupation.

The conflict has been accompanied by a surge in violence within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution. Palestinian well being authorities stated Sunday that 5 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli army raid within the West Financial institution metropolis of Jenin that started the day earlier than. The toll within the West Financial institution is now 239 because the conflict started.

The Israeli military has carried out frequent army raids and arrested lots of of Palestinians because the begin of the conflict, principally folks it suspects of being Hamas members.

Issues stay over a wider battle. Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes put Damascus Worldwide Airport out of service. It stated different positions round Syria’s capital have been hit however made no point out of casualties. Israel has attacked airports in Damascus and Aleppo a number of instances because the starting of the conflict with Hamas. It doesn’t often acknowledge its airstrikes on Syria, however when it does, it says it’s concentrating on Iranian-backed teams.

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Magdy reported from Cairo. Isabel DeBre in Jerusalem and Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel, contributed to this report.

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Full AP protection at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

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