32m ago / 7:18 PM UTC
Hamas to release 13 Israeli hostages for 39 Palestinian prisoners after delay, Qatari official says
The deal between Hamas and Israel to exchange Palestinians for Israelis will move forward tonight following a delay, according to Majed Al Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“After a delay in implementing the release of prisoners from both sides, the obstacles were overcome through Qatari-Egyptian communications with both sides, and tonight 39 Palestinian civilians will be released in exchange for the release of 13 Israeli detainees from Gaza in addition to 7 foreigners outside the framework of the agreement,” Al Ansari wrote in Arabic on his X account.
No details were provided on the seven foreigners Al Ansari mentioned.
The White House did not confirm that the deal will move forward, but an official told NBC News the U.S. is working with Qatar, Egypt and Israel “on implementation of the deal.”
In a post on Telegram, Hamas said it has “complied to the appreciated Egyptian and Qatari efforts that acted throughout the day to ensure the continuation of the temporary truce agreement after they conveyed the occupation’s commitment to all the conditions stipulated in the agreement.”
2h ago / 5:22 PM UTC
Hostage release delayed over alleged violations
Hamas said it is delaying the second round of hostages from being released over allegations that Israel violated the four-day cease-fire agreement.
In a statement shared with NBC News, Hamas highlighted three terms of the cease-fire agreement that it said Israel has violated — insufficient aid, Israel not releasing prisoners in the agreed-upon order, and violence in northern Gaza.
Hamas alleges that not enough of the agreed-upon 200 trucks of aid have made their way into northern Gaza today. Israel has violated the agreement regarding Palestinian prisoner releases, which prioritizes the longest-serving Palestinians to be released first, Hamas says.
Yesterday, while thousands of Palestinians rushed to northern Gaza in an effort to get home, Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring others, according to health officials in the enclave.
5h ago / 3:19 PM UTC
Palestinians accuse Israel of ‘tampering’ with prisoner lists
Israel has been accused by the chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry of “tampering” with the list of prisoners set for release.
“The agreement stipulated the release of prisoners according to seniority, but Israel did not adhere to it yesterday,” Qaddoura Fares said in a statement today. He did not elaborate on what he meant by seniority.
“There is great dissatisfaction among the Palestinian resistance against tampering with prisoner lists,” he added.
NBC News has reached out to the Israeli government for comment.
Israel was set to hand over prisoners today in the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, Fares said, adding that the Palestinians “refused to do so.” He said that they did not know “where the second batch of prisoners will be released.”
It’s unclear what was meant by “we refused to do so,” but NBC News has received no official announcement that the Palestinians have refused to accept any prisoners.
5h ago / 3:10 PM UTC
‘Positive indicators’ for extension of truce, Egypt says
Egypt said today that it has received positive signals from all parties for an extension of the truce in Gaza.
According to Diaa Rashwan, chairman of State Information Service, intensive Egyptian communications “are taking place with all parties to extend the truce period between Israel and Hamas for additional one to two days.”
This could mean the release of more detainees in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, Rashwan added.
Egypt worked with all parties to successfully move more than 50 aid trucks from Rafah crossing to the northern Gaza Strip today, Rashwan said.
6h ago / 2:18 PM UTC
Children and parents reunited in moving moments after hostage release
Video released today by Israel’s government press office showed the emotional reunion of a young family at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel outside of Tel Aviv.
Doron Katz Asher and her daughters, Aviv, 2, and Raz, 4 reunited with their father. Raz said she dreamed of going home and her father reassured her in Hebrew that “now the dream is coming true.”
They were visiting their grandmother at Nir Oz when they were taken.
6h ago / 1:58 PM UTC
Biden hopeful American citizens to be released
President Joe Biden has secured the release of two American citizens as part of the larger group of around 50 hostages during the four-day pause in fighting, a White House official told NBC News.
“We are early in the process that will see at least 50 women and children released during the first phase of the agreement,” the official said today on condition of anonymity. “We are hopeful that will include three dual national women and children, who are American citizens. This will unfold over the coming days. We will not comment on individual cases as the process is underway.”
6h ago / 1:36 PM UTC
Mixed emotions for relative of hostage still in captivity
TEL AVIV — For Gil Dickmann, whose cousin Carmel Gat, 39, was taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, the news that some hostages had been released was welcome.
“The fact that a deal could be made between Israel and Hamas is amazing,” Dickmann told NBC News today, adding that seeing his friends get their relatives back “fills you with happiness and hope.”
But he added that he was trying not to get his hopes up too much “because I think that the hostages that are supposed to be released are mainly children and their mothers.” That was not the case with his cousin, he added.
6h ago / 1:33 PM UTC
Analysis: Qatari team arrives in Israel hoping a fragile deal will hold
DOHA, Qatar — Amid a flurry of diplomatic activity, a Qatari “operations team” has landed in Tel Aviv to “ensure the deal continues to run smoothly, and discuss further details of the ongoing deal,” a diplomat with knowledge of events told NBC News today.
It’s a sign that these are days of both hope and fear.
Today, a Hamas official said that not enough aid was reaching northern Gaza and that it could threaten the entire agreement. Within hours, the International Red Crescent said 61 trucks had been dispatched to the region today, the “largest” convoy so far.
Other parts of the deal are also being closely scrutinized. In an interview yesterday, Qatar’s lead negotiator, Minister of State Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, told me they “remain optimistic” that Hamas will fulfill its promise to find any civilian hostages held by other groups in Gaza. He said they were “monitoring” the Hamas commitment to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to see and assess all the hostages.
Despite Israel’s determination to keep fighting after the pause, Qatar is hoping to build trust toward a peace deal. But for now, the battle is simply to keep the deal they have on track.
6h ago / 1:28 PM UTC
Empty bus arrrives at Ofer Prison
At 2:37 p.m. local time, an empty bus arrived at Ofer Prison, the Israeli military facility in the occupied West Bank.
Reuters understands that this bus will likely be used to transfer prisoners for the swap expected to happen later today.
7h ago / 1:07 PM UTC
Israeli military prepares for next phase of war during cease-fire, spokesperson says
The Israeli military “will continue the preparations for the next phases of the war,” during the four-day pause in hostilities with Hamas, a spokesperson said yesterday.
“Troops are ready and prepared on all the fronts,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told a news conference. “Our policy is clear: We will act against every threat to the state of Israel.”
“Even during the operational pause, we must remain vigilant and not become complacent,” he added.
7h ago / 12:46 PM UTC
Large aid convoy heads to northern Gaza
Sixty-one trucks of food, water and medical supplies entered Gaza and the devastated north of the enclave today, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society — the largest convoy of aid to enter the area since the start of the war.
“PRCS prepared, leads and escorts the convoy, with a number of PRCS ambulances as well, in addition to a number of PRCS staff and volunteers,” the organization said in a post on X. “The distribution plan in the North is also set to reach as many beneficiaries of the IDPs as possible, with PRCS teams of staff and volunteers from the North mobilized to facilitate the process.”
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are believed to still be in northern Gaza, which has been devastated by the Israeli military.
7h ago / 12:25 PM UTC
Family members of three hostages press for release of all who remain held by Hamas
The family members of three hostages believed to still be held by Hamas said that the work of the international community is not done after 24 people were released in a temporary cease-fire agreement with Hamas.
Noam Peri said she has learned that her father, Haim Peri, is likely still alive after he was kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7.
“I can tell you this morning that we have a sign of life from my father. We know he’s alive from other people from the community who were released yesterday,” she said today, adding that she isn’t able to go into further detail.
Peri said that her father survived a heart attack and relies on medication.
“My father is almost 80 years old. He’s a brave man. But he’s not a healthy man,” she said. “We assumed he’s kept underground and we know the conditions there are very hard, especially for old and ill people. It’s hard to breathe there. We don’t even know if he can stand in the place where he’s kept.”
Lior Rudaeff, 61, is also a heart attack survivor who relies on blood thinners, his son Nadav said. The former ambulance driver and volunteer medic was take from Kibbutz Nir Itzhak.
His family has not received an update on his welfare since he was taken. The family of Itay Chen, a 19-year-old who was serving with the Israel Defense Forces, also has not received updates since he was abducted, his father, Ruby Chen, said.
“We have demanded the International Red Cross to be able to enter and provide not just an indication of who is being held hostage but also what is their medical status and provide medical attention,” Chen said. “I believe again that this topic of kidnapping elderly people, children that have not been provided visitation by the IRC is a crime against humanity.”
8h ago / 12:12 PM UTC
Biden: Two-state solution ‘more important now than ever’
President Joe Biden last night called for a renewed focus on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in order to help end “this cycle of violence.”
“Our resolve to pursue a two-state solution … is more important now than ever,” Biden said as he welcomed the release of Israeli hostages and looked forward to more people being let go, as well as the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid.
“To continue down the path of terror and violence and killing and war is to give Hamas what they seek, and we can’t do that,” Biden said in a national TV address.
8h ago / 11:58 AM UTC
9-year-old released hostage sees dad for first time
Emotional video has been released showing 9-year-old Ohad Munder-Zichri running into his father’s arms after being released during a four-day pause in fighting in Gaza.
“As soon as Ohad saw his father, he ran into his arms. There is nothing more emotional than that,” a statement posted on Schneider Children’s Medical Center’s Facebook page reads.
Ohad, who was taken with his mother, Keren Munder, and roughly 240 hostages during Hamas’ terror attack on Oct. 7, is shown being led by a soldier who points down the hall. He turns and runs into the arms of a man who picks him up and starts walking down the hall with him.
Keren and grandmother Ruthi were also filmed being greeted by family in the medical center.
8h ago / 11:39 AM UTC
Hamas claims that Israel is violating truce deal, imperiling hostage exchange
DOHA, Qatar — Taher al-Nono, an adviser to Hamas’ political bureau, said today that Israel “has not fully committed to” key terms of the cease-fire agreement, particularly with regard to the amount of aid reaching northern Gaza.
“This puts a real risk on completing the process,” he said.
According to al-Nono, the agreement said that at least 100 trucks with humanitarian aid would enter Gaza, but that far fewer have reached the northern Gaza Strip.
“These are issues that put the implementation process in danger if the occupation does not commit today to completing the entry of aid into the northern Gaza Strip according to the agreed-upon numbers,” he said.
The Hamas adviser added that attacks have also continued, resulting in the death of two Palestinians, and that Israel had not come to complete agreement with Hamas on the release of male prisoners under the age of 19.
A diplomat with knowledge of the matter told NBC News there were “delays related to the amount of aid reaching the North,” But that “the deal remains on track and moving.”
NBC News has reached out to Israeli officials for comment but did not immediately hear back.
8h ago / 11:23 AM UTC
The five ‘excruciating’ weeks of talks that led to the Hamas hostage deal
It took weeks of secret negotiations involving U.S., Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials, the heads of the CIA and the Mossad, and the personal intervention of President Joe Biden to convince a reluctant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a four-day cease-fire that is expected to free 50 hostages from Hamas.
The negotiations, while ultimately successful, revealed the vast challenges that remain in freeing all of the roughly 240 captives seized during the group’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.
Throughout the talks, Hamas officials maintained that they had taken captive only about 70 Israeli soldiers and 50 women and children, according to a diplomat in the region with knowledge of the negotiations.
Hamas officials said the whereabouts of as many as 100 other captives are unknown but they are pursuing leads. The group claimed that “some Israelis were kidnapped by individual Palestinian gangs or smugglers,” according to the diplomat.
9h ago / 10:55 AM UTC
Five elderly released hostages are ‘stable,’ hospital says
TEL AVIV — The hospital treating five elderly hostages released yesterday said their conditions were “stable” this morning.
“Each one is being treated according to the examination passed yesterday by the medical team, and they are being embraced by their family,” Wolfson Medical Center said in a statement. “We are waiting and hoping for the return of all the abductees.”
9h ago / 10:46 AM UTC
A Palestinian prisoner returns home
Wearing a Hamas headband, Aseel al-Titi was greeted by friends and at the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank yesterday. Al-Titi was among the 39 prisoners released from an Israeli jail yesterday as part of a hostage-prisoner swap.
9h ago / 10:38 AM UTC
Report: 42 Palestinian prisoners to be released today
Israel’s Channel 13 reported that 42 Palestinian prisoners were set to be released today in exchange for Israeli hostages being held in Gaza.
NBC News has not independently confirmed the number of people on the list of prisoners.
10h ago / 10:13 AM UTC
Hamas to release 13 hostages today
Hamas is set to release 13 hostages today, according to a diplomatic source with knowledge of the talks.
“They’re trying to get one more but not confirmed yet,” the source adds.
10h ago / 9:59 AM UTC
LA police investigate possible hate crime at AIPAC president’s home
Police in Los Angeles were investigating a case of vandalism at the home of the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as a possible hate crime.
NBC Los Angeles reported that demonstrators set off smoke devices and threw red paint on the driveway of the home of AIPAC President Michael Tuchin. The Los Angeles Police Department said on X that the incident happened Thursday and that officers took reports of vandalism/hate crime and assault with a deadly weapon.
Video posted to social media showed a group of people, some carrying Palestinian flags, outside a home in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood. A man could be seen in the video confronting the demonstrators and apparently kicking at one of the flags as the woman recording the encounter seemingly shouted for him not to “be physical.”
A neighbor told NBC Los Angeles that he was hit from behind with a steel pole after confronting the group. The social media video also showed a demonstrator throwing something at a lawn near the woman who was recording the affair.
“Hate and violence will not be tolerated in our City,” Mayor Karen Bass said on X. “LAPD will continue to work with city and business leaders to keep Angelenos safe.”
10h ago / 9:56 AM UTC
West Bank celebrations greet Palestinians freed by Israel
Raucous crowds packed West Bank streets Saturday to celebrate the release of Palestinian prisoners under a cease-fire agreement that was expected to also see the release of 50 hostages taken by Hamas.
The celebrants with World Cup energy roiled in the streets and waved Palestinian flags to mark the occasion.
Yesterday, 39 Palestinian prisoners were released from jails in Israel and allowed to cross into Gaza amid the four-day cease-fire.
10h ago / 9:56 AM UTC
Children’s hospital receives 8 hostages
Leaders at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel in the city of Petah Tikvah said the institution is examining eight released hostages who arrived there today.
They include four children, three mothers and a grandmother, the CEO of the hospital, Dr. Efrat Bron-Harlev, said during a news conference.
“Their physical condition is good and they’re currently undergoing medical and emotional assessment by the medical and psychological team,” she said.
Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel was one of six hospitals designated by Israel’s government to receive released hostages and check out their physical and mental health, a health ministry official said.
A total of 22 hostages held by militants were released today, the Israel Defense Forces said; a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the number was 24. At least 13 are Israeli; the rest are said to be foreigners from places including Thailand.
Israel was expected to release 39 jailed Palestinians under the four-day cease-fire; 33 have already been released, Red Cross officials said.
“There are not enough words to express the emotion that we’re feeling at this time,” Bron-Harlev said. “Together with the families in the entire nation of Israel, we will do our utmost to care for the physical and emotional health of the returned hostages. From our perspective, this is a national mission.”
10h ago / 9:56 AM UTC
Hospital raided by Israeli forces was treating 73 ill patients, WHO says
Al-Shifa hospital, which was the largest such institution in Gaza, was treating at least 73 severely ill or injured patients when it was all but shut down this week, the World Health Organization said in a statement yesterday.
The 73 were part of a WHO-enabled transfer of 151 total patients from Al-Shifa that started on Wednesday, the United Nations agency said. They were taken to the European Gaza Hospital and Al Najjar Hospital in Gaza’s southern region, it said.
An additional 100 patients and staff members remained at Al-Shifa in the north despite its demise “due to lack of water, fuel, medical supplies, food, and staff, and recent military incursions,” the WHO said.
The 73 included 19 people in wheelchairs, 18 dialysis patients and 26 patients with serious spinal injuries, according to the WHO.
10h ago / 9:56 AM UTC
Amid cease-fire, Israeli official says Hamas’ end is unfinished business
Feelings of peace and hope may fill the air tonight amid the four-day cease-fire that’s facilitating the release of hostages held by Hamas and prisoners held by Israel, but the war isn’t over yet, a top Israeli official said.
Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari reminded Israelis in a video address tonight that the mission to eradicate Hamas is not over. Hagari noted that even the exchange of hostages was a half-step forward, with the vast majority of the estimated 240 abducted in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel remaining in the custody of Hamas militants despite today’s release of 24 hostages.
“Today the world watched and breathed a collective sigh of relief,” Hagari said. “But we must never lose sight of … babies who were not reunited with their loved ones, who are still being held by Hamas.”
He said the fighting must carry on in order to secure the freedom of all the hostages, put an end to what he characterized as a terrorist Hamas regime, and ensure that Oct. 7 happens “never again.”
10h ago / 9:56 AM UTC
Israeli family shares effects of Arab-Israeli conflict on 5 generations
The Brenner family has been in what is now Israel since the early 1900s, its patriarch, Joseph Hayyim Brenner, having helped to shape the culture and identity of the settlers who would become Israelis through his literature.
He died during the Arab riots in Jaffa in 1921, and others in his family would die fighting for Israel. Shanni Brenner, his great granddaughter, said she has pride for her family’s heritage and contributions, sometimes mortal.
Shanni Brenner’s daughter is serving in the dental unit of the Israeli prison service, where she sometimes must treat enemy combatants. She suggested her daughter’s service is existential for Israel and for the family: “No choice,” she said.