A mere eight hours after Israel resumed its bombardment of Gaza following a seven-day temporary cease-fire, eight more hostages were freed on Thursday. Before hostilities broke out again early on Friday, Israel freed thirty Palestinian prisoners.
The health ministry in Gaza has since announced numerous deaths in the Palestinian enclave, and both sides blame one another for breaking the terms of the pause.
Hamas and Israel agreed to exchange 50 hostages for 150 prisoners, halt hostilities for four days, and permit more aid to enter Gaza beginning Friday, Nov. 24, as part of an initial agreement mediated by Qatar and Egypt. Twice the truce was extended, allowing for increased communication and assistance.
With Thursday’s hostage release, Hamas has now freed 105 hostages in total since the temporary ceasefire was implemented. Of these, 75 are Israelis, 3 are dual citizens of Israel and Russia, and 24 are foreign nationals. Before the truce, five hostages were freed from Gaza. Israeli officials said that during a ground operation in Gaza, one woman—an Israeli soldier—was rescued and four were released by Hamas. 240 Palestinian inmates have been freed by Israel since the start of the interim ceasefire.
According to the Israeli government, during Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, about 240 people were taken hostage. Before the short-term truce, the militant group freed four women, both for “humanitarian reasons,” according to Hamas: two Israeli women on October 23 and an American mother and daughter on October 20.
The Financial Times was informed by Qatar’s government, which is spearheading the ongoing negotiations between the warring parties, that an estimated forty hostages in Gaza are not being held by Hamas but rather by other militant organizations, making the planning of their release more difficult.
Dec. 1: Israel and Hamas end their temporary cease-fire and resume hostilities.
Following the release of Israeli hostages, BBC News announced in the wee hours of Friday morning local time in Israel that thirty more Palestinian prisoners had been released. The detainees had been housed in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and throughout Israel.
The deadline for extending the ceasefire passed hours later. Israeli Defense Forces claimed in a post on X (previously Twitter) that Hamas had broken the truce by firing rockets into Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office published a statement on social media stating that Hamas “has not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens.”
The statement went on, “Upon the resumption of fighting, we emphasize: The Government of Israel is committed to achieving the war’s goals: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas, and making sure Gaza never poses a threat to Israel’s citizens.”
According to Hamas, Israel broke the truce by allegedly firing weapons and detonating explosives in the northern part of Gaza. Israeli warplanes have targeted multiple locations in Gaza since the cease-fire.
Nov. 30: A minimum of one more day of truce is maintained, and eight hostages are freed.
The truce was extended for an additional day on Thursday, as both Hamas and the Israeli military separately announced just minutes before it was scheduled to end at 7 a.m. local time.
The armed wing of Hamas instructed its forces to remain combat ready in the event that the truce was not extended, hours before the agreement to extend it was made public.
Meanwhile, Israel’s prime minister’s office announced on Thursday that fighting would “resume immediately,” as agreed upon by Netanyahu and his war cabinet. In a statement released early on Thursday morning, Israeli authorities said that they would maintain the ceasefire and that they had not been provided with a list of Israeli prisoners to be released. About 145 hostages were still being held by Hamas at the time, according to Israeli officials.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently in Israel for meetings with high officials, welcomed the extension of the truce. In addition, a second meeting between him and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is anticipated in the West Bank.
Blinken posted on X, saying, “We want to see it continue. The pause in fighting has demonstrated success in securing the freedom of hostages and in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.”
The Red Cross moved two Israeli hostages to special forces near the Gaza security fence, the IDF said on Telegram at approximately five o’clock in the evening. After that, the military transported them to Israel’s Hatzerim Base. More Israeli hostages were anticipated to be moved to the Red in the coming hours.
Just before midnight, Hamas released six more hostages to the Red Cross and brought them back to Israel.
Nov. 29: Israel releases 30 Palestinian prisoners, and Hamas releases 16 hostages.
On Wednesday, Hamas freed 16 hostages, including 10 Israelis, 2 dual citizens of Israel and Russia, and 4 Thais. Israeli officials reported that an estimated 160 hostages remained in Gaza.
30 Palestinians, including 16 minors and 14 women, who had been detained in Israeli prisons were freed in return, according to Israeli prison officials. A notable Palestinian activist named Ahed Tamimi was one of the thirty inmates released. After being detained by the Israeli military on November 6 on suspicion of inciting violence based on an Instagram post that her family claimed was not written by her, she had been detained for almost three weeks.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, has made it clear that Israel will keep up its military campaign against Hamas. “Will Israel resume fighting after we’ve used up all of the abductees’ returns? Thus, I would say without a doubt that I do, he said on Wednesday. “There is no way that we won’t fight until the very end.”
Additionally, November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, observed since 1978. Actors and legislators took part in protests demanding that the ceasefire be extended permanently all over the world.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement, “This is a day for reaffirming international solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to live in peace and dignity.” A long-term humanitarian ceasefire, unhindered access for life-saving aid, the release of all hostages, the defense of civilians, and an end to transgressions of international humanitarian law must be the first steps toward achieving that.
Nov. 28: Israel releases 30 Palestinian prisoners, and Hamas releases 12 hostages.
Hamas freed twelve hostages, including two Thais and ten Israelis. Thirty Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons in the meantime.
Both sides claimed that the truce had been broken, but the exchange nonetheless took place. According to a Hamas official, Israel troops broke the terms of the ceasefire, resulting in a “field clash.” According to the IDF, some of its soldiers were slightly hurt when “explosive devices” were set off nearby by Hamas fighters.
Nov. 27: A two-day truce was extended and 11 hostages were transferred to the Red Cross.
The IDF reports that eleven Israeli hostages were handed over to the Red Cross. In return, thirty-three Palestinian detainees are anticipated to be freed.
More information about the conditions of the hostages’ confinement is becoming available as the hostages are released one by one. The head of the Soroka Medical Center in Southern Israel informed reporters that Elma Avraham, an 84-year-old hostage who was freed on Sunday, is among the hostages in critical condition.
Merav Raviv revealed to the Associated Press that during their 50 days in captivity, her aunt and cousin had each shed fifteen pounds. Additionally, according to the Associated Press, hostages were made to sleep on chairs and occasionally had to wait hours to use the restroom.
Nov. 26: Israel releases 39 Palestinian prisoners, and Hamas releases 17 hostages.
At 6 p.m. local time, the militant group and Israeli military reported that Hamas had freed 13 Israeli hostages, three Thai nationals, and a Russian. Four-year-old Abigail Edan, one of three hostages who holds American citizenship, was among those set free, according to U.S. President Joe Biden. According to Bloomberg, Edan’s parents were murdered by Hamas at their residence on the Kfar Aza kibbutz, which is close to Gaza.
According to the Israel Prison Service, Israel responded by releasing 39 Palestinian inmates.
Nov. 25: Israel releases 39 Palestinian prisoners and Hamas releases 17 hostages.
The spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Majed Al Ansari, confirmed on social media that 39 Palestinian prisoners were freed and 13 Israeli citizens and four foreigners were freed on the second day of the truce.
Al Ansari reported that the hostages had been turned over to the Red Cross and were en route to the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt at approximately 11:15 p.m. local time.
Males, females, and children were among the hostages who were freed. There were boys and women among the Palestinian inmates.
Among the hostages who were freed and listed by the Israel Defense Forces were Emily Hand, Hila Rotem Shoshani, Adi and Yahel Shoham, Shiri and Noga Weiss. A list of the 39 Palestinian inmates who were freed was released by the Israel Prison Service (in Hebrew).
The conversation took place after several hours of waiting. Just after six o’clock in the evening, the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced via Telegram that it had chosen to postpone the release of hostages until Israel complied with the arrangement regarding the entry of relief trucks into the northern part of Gaza.
A Hamas official told the BBC that Israel killed two Palestinians with drones over Gaza and altered the list of prisoners who were supposed to be released. Osama Hamdan, a spokesman for Hamas, repeated this at a press conference in Beirut, according to the BBC. Israel refuted claims that it violated the truce to the BBC. TIME requested comments from both parties.
More humanitarian aid has been sent into Gaza since Friday. During the seven weeks of fighting, food and clean water have been in short supply in Gaza.
The Palestinian and Egyptian Red Crescent Societies assisted in the delivery of 61 trucks filled with food, water, and emergency medical supplies to north Gaza on Saturday, according to the United Nations. In a post on X, the Palestinian branch acknowledged that it had provided some assistance (formerly Twitter). The United Nations reported on Saturday that Israeli authorities were still preventing fuel from getting to the northern part of Gaza.
After a tense few hours, Al Ansari announced shortly before 9 p.m. that the deal will proceed following a delay “from both sides” that was settled through mediation between Egypt and Qatar. Al Ansari initially claimed that four of the seven foreign hostages would be freed in violation of the agreement, but he later changed his mind.
Although the United States was disappointed that no Americans were released in the first two hostage releases, two senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration told NBC News that they were still “hopeful” that at least three Americans would be released as part of the anticipated total of 50.
Nov. 24: Israel releases 39 Palestinian prisoners, and Hamas releases 24 hostages.
According to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hamas released 24 hostages on Friday, the first day of the ceasefire. The hostages included 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals, and one Filipino citizen.
In a post on X, Al Ansari stated that Israel was “upholding the commitment of the first day of the agreement” by releasing 39 Palestinian prisoners, including women and children.
A list of the names and ages of the freed hostages was released by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, and a list of the names of the Palestinian prisoners who were released was released by the Israel Prison Service.
Just before 4 p.m., Thailand’s prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, announced on X that 12 Thai hostages had been freed by Hamas as part of an independent deal that the Egyptian government had assisted in negotiating. In an updated statement on Saturday, the Thai Foreign Ministry stated that at least 20 additional Thai hostages had been freed on Friday—not 12, as initially reported.
The Times of Israel reports that at approximately 4:30 p.m., 13 Israeli hostages were moved from Hamas to the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to Israeli TV stations, which Sky News cited, hostages were handed over to the Egyptians shortly before five o’clock in the evening.
On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared the release of 24 hostages. A social media post stated, “We are relieved to confirm the safe release of 24 hostages.” “We have facilitated this release by transporting them from Gaza to the Rafah border, marking the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the parties.”
Videos and pictures show that the Israel Defense Forces took the freed hostages to a hospital where they were reunited with their families.
The Israel Foreign Ministry and IDF posted images and a video of toys, toiletries, blankets, and clothing on social media earlier on Friday, indicating that they were prepared to receive hostages with medical attention and supplies.
Adina Moshe’s nephew, Eyal Nouri, was freed on Nov. 24. According to TIME, his aunt told her family that she was imprisoned underground, not knowing the time, only seeing light for two hours a day, not having access to showers, and living off of rice and pita bread.
In a speech on November 24, President Joe Biden stated that he anticipated “dozens more hostages will be returned to their families” and that the release “was the start of a process.”