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November 25, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

What we covered

  • A second group of hostages released from Gaza — comprising 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — arrived in Israel late Saturday, according to Israeli officials and a CNN team on the ground. Around the same time, 39 Palestinian detainees and prisoners were released from Israeli jails, authorities said.
  • Hamas had delayed the second exchange over a dispute about the prisoners and aid for Gaza that was resolved through mediation, according to Qatar, which helped negotiate the 4-day truce and exchange agreement between the two sides.
  • There were emotional scenes Friday as the first wave of Israeli hostages were reunited with their families. On the West Bank, there also was jubilation as Palestinian prisoners returned home.
  • Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it is still detaining the director of Gaza's largest hospital. Israel accuses Hamas of using Al-Shifa Hospital for combat and command purposes, which Hamas and hospital officials deny.
  • Here's how to help humanitarian efforts in Israel and Gaza.

12:01 a.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has moved here.
10:45 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Thai foreign ministry confirms 4 hostages released Saturday

The Thai foreign ministry has confirmed that four Thai nationals were released from Gaza Saturday, including Manee Jirachart, whose family CNN spoke with last month.

His father Chumporn Jirachart showed CNN the last image he saw of his son — the bunker where he was taking cover on the October 7 attacks. 

Manee had gone to work in Israel to send money home to his family and was expected to return next year. He was released Saturday along with three other Thais.

"The MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) has received confirmation from the Royal Thai Embassy (RTE) in Tel Aviv that a second group of four Thai nationals have been released from Gaza today (26 November, 2023) and are being taken to the designated medical center in Israel for a check-up where the RTE will immediately contact their families in Thailand," the Thai foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin posted the names of the released hostages on his social media. They are Natthaporn Onkaew, Komkrit Chombua, Anucha Angkaew and Manee Jirachart.

All four are in good health at Shamir Medical Center in Israel and none of them needed emergency medical care, Thavisin said.

On Friday, 10 Thai nationals were freed by Hamas, bringing the total to 14 Thais released. The ministry estimated that 18 Thai nationals are still being held hostage.

Context: Among many of the foreigners killed and captured by Hamas were also migrant workers from Asia who work in the country’s agricultural, construction and healthcare sectors. Thailand has for decades made up one of the biggest sources of migrant labor in Israel, and suffered one of the highest tolls of any nation beyond Israel itself.

10:11 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

61 trucks deliver aid to northern Gaza Saturday, the United Nations says

Aid trucks drive down a road in Rafah, Gaza, on Saturday. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Sixty-one trucks delivered food, water, and emergency medical supplies to northern Gaza on Saturday, according to the United Nations, the largest number of trucks to reach the north since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

As day two of the Hamas-Israel truce unfolded, 11 ambulances, three coaches, and a flatbed went to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to help with evacuations, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement Saturday.

Two hundred trucks went to the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt, while 187 entered Gaza by 7 p.m. local time (12p.m. ET), according to the UN.

129,000 liters of fuel also crossed into Gaza, it said.

In an earlier statement, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it received 187 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent on Saturday and dispatched the largest aid convoy to Gaza City and the northern parts of the strip since October 7.

It said the convoy was "loaded with food and non-food items, water, primary health care medicines, and emergency medical supplies, from aid that entered through Rafah (Saturday) as well as from PRCS warehouses in the south," the statement said, adding that it successfully distributed the aid.  

The PRCS added that it has received 1,946 aid trucks in Gaza since October 21.

9:10 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Hamas releases video showing handover to Red Cross officials of second group of hostages

Hamas has released a video showing the handover of the second group of hostages released to Red Cross officials from captivity inside Gaza.

The video is similar to one released after the first group of hostages were freed on Friday, and consists of a series of edited clips. It was released on the social media platforms of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. 

CNN was not present at any of the locations when the clips were filmed and had no control over the content. 

The video shows several of the Israeli children being handed over to Red Cross officials, as well as Maya Regev, who was later sent to a hospital for treatment. She is seen making her way to the back of a Red Cross vehicle on crutches. 

Some of the hostages are holding hands as they walk to the vehicles. 

Hamas fighters in black balaclavas and green bandanas are present at all the handovers, along with Red Cross officials wearing white jackets and bibs clearly marked with the Red Cross logo.

In several of the clips, the gunmen wave goodbye to the hostages, who appear to have little choice but to wave and smile in return — a response under duress that likely reflects their relief at going home after seven weeks in captivity.

Another clip shows the four Thai nationals also being escorted to a Red Cross vehicle and climbing in the back. They, too, appear to feel coerced into waving and giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign to their captors. 

All the clips were filmed after sundown and it is not clear if the handover points were the same as on Friday.

Unlike the video of the first group handover yesterday, the clip has audio throughout.

Context: So far 41 hostages have been released in the first two days of the truce. Thirteen Israeli civilians were freed along with 11 foreign nationals in the initial exchange on Friday, followed by another 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals on Saturday.
9:07 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Rocky hostage release underscores fragility of deal between Israel and Hamas

People participate in a show of solidarity with hostages being held in Gaza, near the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday. Leo Correa/AP

Excitement has been replaced by tension in Israel, after a brief delay before the release of several Israeli hostages on Saturday underscored the tenuousness of the nation’s deal with Hamas, which still holds around 200 captives in Gaza.

Many demonstrators appeared close to tears at a rally for the families of hostages in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, even as a diplomatic scramble was taking place to restart the release process.

“This is what happens when you do a deal with the devil,” said attendee Neta Rosenberg. “If this is how I feel, I cannot imagine how hostage families are feeling.”

The deal brokered with Hamas is designed to see captives kidnapped on October 7 exchanged for Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel, a four-day truce in fighting, and increased humanitarian aid access to the besieged enclave.

Despite news that the deal was back on, just hours later, a mood of bitterness lingered – in a stark contrast to the jubilant scenes on Friday when the first group of freed Israeli hostages were reunited with their families.

Hamas on Saturday blamed the delay on issues with the amount of aid being delivered and selection of Palestinian prisoners being released.

Some relief finally came overnight, when 17 hostages were allowed to leave Gaza and cross into Israel – a small group that included four Thai nationals and 9-year-old Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli dual citizen.

Thirty-nine Palestinian teenagers and women were also released from Israeli prisons, per the terms of the exchange, on Saturday.

When the first group of 24 hostages were released on Friday, crowds of onlookers cheered their arrival at hospitals around Tel Aviv.

Yoni Asher, whose wife and two daughters were released by Hamas on Friday, hugged his family on a hospital bed, telling them in Hebrew: “Soon we’ll go to our house in a little while we’re going back to our house. We’ve just come here for the doctor to check us and then we’re going home but we’ve put lots of dolls and toys out for you, lights, lots of things.”
Read the full story here.
8:33 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Released Israeli hostage Maya Regev taken to hospital for treatment of an injury, hospital says

Israeli hostage, Maya Regev, who was released by Hamas on Saturday has arrived at Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba for treatment of a moderate injury, according to the hospital and Israel's Ministry of Health.

The 21-year-old is in a stable condition and her injury is not considered life threatening, according to the statement.

Maya and her brother Itay, 18, were both taken hostage by Hamas gunmen at the Nova music festival in southern Israel during the deadly October 7 attacks.

The first hostage taken from the rave party to be freed, she was said to have sustained the injury during her abduction.

She will meet with her family members at the hospital and receive medical and psychological care as needed.

In an interview with CNN last month, their father Ilan replayed a terrifying call Maya had placed to her father during the brutal attack by Hamas on the Nova festival. “Dad, they shot me, they shot me!" Maya can be heard screaming down the phone.
Context: The Nova Festival was in a rural farmland area near the Gaza-Israel border was one of multiple locations hit on October 7 by Hamas militants. More than 260 bodies were found at the site in the aftermath of the attacks.
9:14 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Israel receives list of hostages set for release from Gaza Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister's office says

Israel has received a list of hostages due to be released Sunday in accordance with an agreement signed with Hamas, according to Israel's Prime Minister's office. 

"Security officials are checking the list" and the information has been conveyed to the hostages' families, the office said in a statement.
Context: The list marks what is set to be the third day of releases since a truce for a temporary pause in fighting came into effect on Friday. Under the agreement, a total of 50 hostages are expected to be freed over the four days, while Palestinian prisoners are also due to be released in waves.

Twenty four hostages — including 13 Israeli civilians and 11 foreign nationals — were freed on Friday, followed by 17 more — 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — on Saturday.

This post has been updated with additional information from Israel's Prime Minister's office.
7:39 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Qatar hopes to extend truce beyond four days, Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson says

Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari speaks during an interview in Doha, Qatar, on November 12. Kyodo News/Getty Images/FILE

Qatar is hoping to extend the truce between Israel and Hamas beyond the agreed upon four days, Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari told CNN Saturday.

"What we are hoping for is that the momentum that has carried from the releases of these two days and from this agreement of four days will allow us to extend the truce beyond these four days and therefore get into more serious discussions about the rest of the hostages," Al-Ansari said.

Al-Ansari said he continues to work with senior officials in Qatar to address concerns from either side of the conflict regarding the implementation of the hostage deal. 

"Within this kind of mediation, you're always going to find both sides saying that the other side did not abide by the agreement," Al-Ansari said.

Al-Ansari added that he could not confirm if any Americans would be released on the third day of the truce.

"The lists are delivered on a daily basis. We are now expecting the list for the third day. Sadly, we can't know who is going to be on that list beforehand," he said.

The ministry spokesperson also said Qatar is working with partners in Egypt, the United States, and both parties of the conflict to ensure the agreed amount of aid trucks are allowed into Gaza.

"There are a lot of moving parts on the ground when it comes to humanitarian aid there which we need to work through," he said.

Al-Ansari responded to the head of the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners' Affairs who accused Israel of not abiding by the agreement to release prisoners in order of length of time served.

"We are now hopeful with the third day of this pause we will be able to hash out all of the details that made this day so difficult," he said.
Some context: A second group of hostages released from Gaza — comprising 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — arrived in Israel late Saturday, according to Israeli officials and a CNN team on the ground. Hamas had delayed the second exchange over a dispute about the prisoners and aid for Gaza that was resolved through mediation, according to Qatar.
7:17 p.m. ET, November 25, 2023

Released hostages on their way to hospitals in Israel, IDF says

An ambulance believed to be carrying released hostages drives near the Israel-Gaza border early Sunday, local time. Amir Cohen/Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces said early Sunday local time that the 17 hostages released on Saturday are leaving the initial meeting point in Israel.

The released hostages — 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — underwent an initial medical assessment, and one civilian was transferred to a hospital an hour ago. Others are on their way to hospitals, where they will reunite with their families, the IDF said in a statement.