Israel, Hamas concerned about lists of people expected to be released, official says

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Israel, Hamas concerned about lists of people expected to be released, official says
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  • Israel and Hamas express concerns over lists of people to be released Monday, from both sides, official briefed on the matter says

JERUSALEM, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas raised concerns over lists of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners due to be released on Monday, the last day of an agreed four-day break in fighting, one official said. on the subject said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Qatari mediators were working with Israel and Hamas to resolve issues and avoid delays.

Hamas said it wanted to extend the truce. Israel has previously offered to accept an additional day for every ten additional hostages released, and to release three times the number of Palestinian prisoners each time.

“There is a slight problem with today’s lists. The Qataris are working with both sides to resolve it and avoid delays,” said the official briefed on the matter.

Israel said earlier it had received what could be the final list of hostages scheduled for release overnight. The list is under review, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, adding that it would provide additional information when possible.

On Sunday, Hamas freed 17 people, including a 4-year-old Israeli-American girl, bringing the total number of Palestinians released since Friday to 58. Israel released 39 teenage Palestinian prisoners on Sunday, bringing the total number of Palestinians released. since the beginning of the truce in 117.

Among those handed over by Hamas on Sunday were 13 Israelis, three Thais and one Russian national, and the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed it had successfully transferred them from Gaza.

US President Joe Biden said he hoped the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas could last as long as the hostages were freed.

Biden said the 4-year-old hostage, Abigail Edan, saw her parents killed by Hamas fighters during their Oct. 7 rampage in Israel and had been detained since then.

“What she endured is unthinkable,” Biden said at a news conference in the United States.

Abigail was heading to the hospital for checks, Israel’s Channel 13 reported. Her grandfather, Carmel Edan, told Reuters he “just couldn’t believe” she had been fired, thanking Biden “for all the help he’s given us.”

Netanyahu said Sunday he had spoken to Biden about releasing the hostages, adding that he would welcome the extension of the truce if more hostages could be freed.

However, Netanyahu said that once the truce ends, “we will return with all our strength to achieve our goals: the elimination of Hamas, ensuring that Gaza does not return to what it was; and of course the release of all our hostages.”

‘I can’t believe I’m free’

The four-day truce agreed last week marks the first break in fighting in seven weeks since Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages back to Gaza.

(1/13)The Israeli military operates in the Gaza Strip during a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in this photo released November 27, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS acquires licensing rights

In response to this attack, Israel bombarded the enclave and launched a ground offensive in the north. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health authorities, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Palestinians gave a joyous welcome to the released prisoners in Ramallah, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Omar Abdullah Al Hajj, 17, one of the detainees released on Sunday, told Reuters he had been left in the dark about what was happening in the outside world.

“I can’t believe that I am free now but my joy is incomplete because we still have our brothers who remain in prison, and then there is all the news about Gaza that I have to learn now,” said Al Hajj , who the Israeli Justice Ministry accused of belonging to the Islamic Jihad militant group and posing a security threat, which it did not specify.

The last three Thai hostages released were in good health, the Thai prime minister said. Efforts to free the remaining 15 Thais will continue, the Thai Foreign Ministry said.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States are pushing for the truce to be extended, but it is unclear whether that will happen.

The clashes and recriminations threatened to torpedo the existing agreement. The killing of a Palestinian farmer by Israeli forces in the central Gaza Strip had previously added to these concerns.

Violence also erupted in the West Bank, where Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians, including two minors and at least one armed man, on Saturday evening and early Sunday, doctors and local sources said.

“PEOPLE ARE SO DESPERATE”

The truce deal survived an earlier threat when Hamas’ military wing said Saturday it was delaying the release of the hostages until Israel fulfilled all conditions of the truce, including pledging to let enter aid trucks into northern Gaza.

Qatari diplomats are now on site in Gaza to oversee the entry and delivery of their country’s aid, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said.

A U.N. official who took part in a humanitarian convoy to northern Gaza said Sunday that aid groups were on track to deliver the largest shipment in more than a month, describing thin and emaciated residents watering their waters. thirsty as soon as water arrives.

“People are so desperate and you can see in the adults’ eyes that they haven’t eaten,” James Elder, of the United Nations children’s agency, told Reuters by video link from the south from Gaza, after his return from Gaza City.

Even as aid deliveries flowed north, Elder said he saw hundreds of Gazans heading in the opposite direction, fearing renewed Israeli bombing if the truce was not extended.

“People are so terrified that this pause won’t continue,” he said.

Reporting from Reuters offices; Written by Raphael Satter, Lincoln Feast and Gareth Jones; Editing by Diane Craft, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Miral Fahmy and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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