Gaza war: No hostage to be released before Friday despite Israel-Hamas truce, Tel Aviv says

Gaza war: No hostage to be released before Friday despite Israel-Hamas truce, Tel Aviv says
No captives will be released before Friday, Israel said, following the Qatar-mediated Hamas-Israel truce agreed upon earlier on Wednesday.
28 min read
22 November, 2023
The war in Gaza has killed over 14,000 Palestinians since October 7 [Getty/file photo]

Israel said a four-day Gaza truce and hostage release will not start until at least Friday, stalling a breakthrough deal to pause the brutal and bloody seven-week-old war.

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi indicated the release of at least 50 Israeli and foreign hostages held by Hamas was on track, but would not happen until Friday at the earliest.

"The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly," he said in a statement.

"The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday."

A second Israeli official said that a halt in fighting would also not take place on Thursday, as had been expected.

The delay is a blow to two million-plus Gazans praying for an end to 47 days of war and destruction, which has killed over 14,000 Palestinians.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce in exchange for the release of dozens of Israeli hostages taken captive by Hamas in its surprise attack on Israel on October 7.

The agreement will bring the first respite for Palestinians targeted by Israel's ferocious and indiscriminate war on Gaza, where the death toll has jumped to 14,128 people killed, including  5,840 children and 3,920 women, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza.

The deal, brokered by Qatar, the US and Egypt, was announced as fighting intensified in central neighbourhoods of Gaza City.

It caps weeks of fitful indirect negotiations and sets the stage for a tense period that could determine the course of the war, already in its seventh week.

World leaders have since responded to the truce deal, that was welcomed by the likes of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who reaffirmed the 'call for a comprehensive cessation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the entry of humanitarian aid'.

4:22 AM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's live blog has now ended, and will resume at 8am GMT.

Israeli forces kill 17-year-old Palestinian in Nablus raid
3:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have killed a young Palestinian man identified as 17-year-old Izz al-Din Mustafa al-Hafi during a raid in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, occupied West Bank.

The young Palestinian was shot in the head, the Palestinian Red Crescent confirmed to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Hafi had arrived at the Rafidia Hospital, but doctors pronounced him dead soon after due to the severity of his injuries.

The identity and the condition of the second man were not immediately known.

US warship downs Houthi drone in Red Sea
3:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

A US warplane shot down multiple one-way attack drones launched from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen, the US Command Central said on  X. The drones were shot down while the US warship Thomas Hudner was on patrol in the Red Sea, they added.

"The ship and crew sustained no damage or injury," Central Command said in the brief social media post.

Patients arrive from the Indonesian hospital in Khan Younis
2:31 AM
The New Arab Staff

The European Gaza Hospital has shared images of patients arriving from Gaza's northern Indonesian Hospital to Khan Younis's medical facility, amid Israeli bombardment and a lack of fuel.

Hundreds of patients who were unable to work have been transferred to the facility, the hospital said.


Dozens killed in Israeli strikes around Gaza: Wafa
1:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

Strikes have intensified in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, particularly in the south of the territory, the Palestinian official news site Wafa said.

Dozens have reportedly been killed, following airstrikes in Deir al-Balah, the Nuseirat refugee camp and the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood of Gaza City, Wafa said.

Khan Younis was also shelled, particularly the al-Qarara area in the city's east.

Blinken carries out phone calls with Saudi, UAE FMs
1:52 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas in separate calls with the Emirati and Saudi foreign ministers, the State Department said.

In his talks with the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Blinken said the US "remains committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state".

On the call with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the US secretary of state also stressed that a "sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a shared priority" for Washington and Riyadh.

Blinken, Saudi FM reaffirmed preventing Gaza war spread
11:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud reaffirmed their commitment to preventing further spread of the Israel's war in Gaza when they spoke on Wednesday, the State Department said.

Blinken also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to secure a durable peace agreement in Yemen, the State Department said. 

No hostage to be released before Friday: Israel security
10:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's national security adviser said late on Wednesday that no hostages held by Hamas would be released before Friday, despite the two sides agreeing a truce.

"Negotiations for the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing all the time," national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement. "The releases will start according to the original agreement between the sides and not before Friday.

Son of senior Hezbollah MP killed in Israeli strike
10:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The son of a senior Hezbollah lawmaker was killed on Wednesday in an Israeli strike in south Lebanon, a source close to the family told AFP.

Abbas Raad, son of the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc Mohammed Raad, "was killed with a number of other Hezbollah members" in an Israeli strike on a house in Beit Yahun, the source said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Hezbollah made no immediate comment.

Lebanon's official National News Agency said that "an air strike launched by the Israeli enemy on a house in Beit Yahun killed four people", and wounded others. It did not identify the victims.

Since the cross-border exchanges began, more than 100 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, according to an AFP tally. Most are Hezbollah combatants but they also included at least 14 civilians, three of them journalists.

Biden talks with Qatar, Israel, Egypt leaders about hostages
9:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Egypt, Israel and Qatar Wednesday, the White House said, his first publicly announced talks with them since a hostage deal was announced between Israel and Hamas.

Biden spoke in separate calls with Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

All three conversations concerned "the deal to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas during its brutal assault against Israel on October 7 and the latest developments in the region," the White House said.

Iran says Gaza war scope will grow if truce doesn't hold
9:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned on Wednesday that the scope of the Gaza war would expand unless a truce between Israel and Hamas lasts, in an interview as he visited Beirut.

"If this ceasefire starts tomorrow, if it does not continue the conditions in the region will not remain the same as before the ceasefire and the scope of the war will expand," Amir-Abdollahian told the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen television channel, according to Iran's Fars news agency.

"We do not seek to expand the scope of the war," he added, saying: "If the intensity of the war increases, every possibility is conceivable for the expansion of the scope of the war."

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran saw two options: "First, a humanitarian ceasefire that turns into a permanent ceasefire."

"The second way is to threaten the Palestinian people, then the Palestinian people will decide for themselves," he said, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Netanyahu cannot fulfil his dream of destroying Hamas."

"We support whatever decision Hamas makes," he added in the interview, according to Fars.

Amir-Abdollahian spoke on the Israel-Gaza war in Beirut [Getty]
Houthi rebels warn they may seize more Red Sea ships
8:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

Yemen's Houthi rebels have warned allies of Israel on Wednesday that their shipping in the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the entrance to the Red Sea is a "legitimate target".

The warning comes after the Houthis on Sunday seized an Israel-linked cargo vessel, opening a new dimension in the Gaza war.

Helicopter-borne troops seized the Galaxy Leader and its 25 international crew days after the Houthis threatened to target Israeli shipping because of the war.

The ship had been chartered by a Japanese group, and was flying the flag of the Bahamas.

A photographer who collaborates with AFP said the Galaxy Leader was anchored at the rebel-controlled Hodeida port in northwest Yemen and was closely guarded.

It was now flying the Yemeni and Palestinian flags.

A video posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Houthi military media showed the commander of the rebels' naval forces, General Mohammad Fadl Abdelnabi, aboard the captured vessel.

"Allies of the Zionist enemy who ensure passage through Bab al-Mandab are also considered to be a legitimate target," he said of the choke-point at the foot of the commercially vital Red Sea.

"We say to the Zionist entity that Bab al-Mandab is a red line. Every civilian or military (Israel-affiliated) ship is considered a legitimate target," he added.

Two Turks killed in Israeli attack on south Lebanon
8:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two Turks were among those killed in Israeli strikes on Tuesday on south Lebanon that also killed a senior Hamas official, the group  said in a statement on Wednesday.

A total of nine people were killed on Tuesday, including two journalists, two other civilians and five Hamas members hit by an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon.

The two Turks were in a car carrying five people who were all killed, the Hamas statement said.

Two Syrians killed by Israeli strikes near Damascus
8:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two Syrians were killed Wednesday in Israeli strikes near Damascus that targeted Lebanon's Hezbollah, a war monitor said, after reporting another Israeli attack earlier in the day.

On Wednesday morning, the Observatory, which has a network of sources inside Syria, said Israeli strikes targeted a centre belonging to Hezbollah, a Syrian government ally, in the Damascus countryside.

The monitor then reported "new Israeli air strikes that targeted Hezbollah" on the outskirts of Damascus, adding later that two Syrian nationals who "work with Hezbollah" were killed.

Jenna Ortega leaves Scream franchise amid Barrera dismissal
7:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

US actress and 'Wednesday' star Jenna Ortega won't be returning to 'Scream VII' -part of the famous horror franchise - Deadline reported, citing sources.

Ortega's exit comes as another actress from the film - Melissa Barrera - was axed from the upcoming film following posts she made on Instagram where she expressed support for Gaza.

The Mexican actress wrote: "Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp."

Deadline claimed that Ortega's exit from 'Scream VII' is unrelated to Barrera's dismissal and is due to scheduling conflicts, though the 21-year-old has spoken up on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and has made several statements supporting the Palestinian cause - among others - in the past.

Ortega has made several pro-Palestinian statements in the past [Getty]
Israel-Hamas truce must work towards being lasting: Macron
7:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The deal between Israel and Hamas to free 50 hostages held by the Palestinian group should be "broadened" and the "humanitarian pause" it brings used to work towards a "lasting ceasefire", the French presidency said on Wednesday.

Emmanuel Macron told visiting foreign ministers from Arab and Muslim countries that Israel's security must be "taken into account by everyone", his office added.

Houthis launch missiles towards military posts in Eilat
7:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched a number of missiles towards military posts in Israel's Eilat, the group's spokesman said in a post on X on Wednesday.

Israel obstructing evacuation ambulances from Al-Shifa: PRCS
6:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that an evacuation convoy for patients and the wounded from the Al-Shifa hospital is still stranded five hours in at the checkpoint separating North and South Gaza.

The PRCS said that Israeli forces are obstructing the convoy's passage, carrying out inspections and putting the patients' lives at risk.


Syria's main airports still shut month after Israeli strikes
6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Syria's two main airports are still shut a month after simultaneous Israeli strikes put them out of service -- the longest such closure since the Syrian conflict began, a war monitor said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported two Israeli attacks near Damascus on Wednesday, targeting Lebanon's Hezbollah group, an ally of Syria's government.

Flights to and from Damascus and Aleppo airports have been suspended since the October 22 strikes damaged the runways.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory, said both airports "are closed" despite the completion of repairs.

Damascus and Aleppo's airports have been struck by Israeli strikes since Oct. 7 [Getty]
Islamic Jihad committed to truce: spokesperson
5:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ali Abu Shaheen, a member of Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, says that the group will follow to the demands of a humanitarian pause if Israel also reciprocates.

“We are part of the deal,” said the Lebanon-based spokesman. “We are constantly meeting, consulting and coordinating with Hamas.”

Israel’s high court rejects petition to halt hostage release
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Almagor Terror Victims Association filed a petition that said the truce deal approved by Israel’s government would threaten its security, according to Israeli media .

The petition argued that by releasing a certain number of captives but not all also violated equal rights, the Times of Israel reports. Almagor called for a delay in implementing the agreement until the government had proven the deal did not endanger lives.

A 24-hour period where the Israeli public can register any legal objections to the government's approved deal kickstarted overnight.

Major NGOs call for longer Israel-Hamas truce
5:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Humanitarian and human rights organisations on Wednesday said a four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war was too short and called for more time to deliver vital aid to the Gaza Strip.

Paul O'Brien, from Amnesty International USA, said on a conference call of major non-governmental organisations that the four-day truce was "not enough and it's certainly not enough in human rights terms".

Fuel may not reach Gaza hospitals during truce: PRCS
4:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

There will be limits on the amount of fuel that enters Gaza, if any, Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent, tells news outlet al Jazeera.

“We have not been notified that fuel will be allowed to get in, particularly to … hospitals,” Farsakh said.

“What we have been told, a number of trucks that have fuel will be allowed to get into the work of water and sanitation networks, but not for hospitals,” she said.

Under the deal, 140,000 litres (37,000 gallons) of fuel will be allowed in every 48 hours, of which 20,000 litres will be earmarked for generators to restore the phone network.

UK's Cameron meets Arab country counterparts to discuss Gaza
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 British foreign minister David Cameron met his counterparts from Arab and Islamic countries in London on Wednesday to discuss the Israel's war on Gaza after Israel and Hamas agreed to ceasefire in Gaza for at least four days.

"We discussed how to use this step forward to think about the future and how we can build a peaceful future which provides security for Israel but also peace and stability for the Palestinian people", Cameron said in a statement.

Foreign Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Indonesia and Nigeria, as well as the Secretary General of the League of Arab States and Ambassador of Qatar attended the meeting, Britain said. 

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron (L) and Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki (R) [Getty]
Palestinian flags displayed by Celtic fans draws UEFA fine
3:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at a Champions League game by fans of Scottish club Celtic cost the team a fine of 17,500 euros ($19,000), UEFA has said.

The fans of the Scottish champions have long publicly supported the Palestinian cause and defied requests from the club not to do so on October 25 when the team hosted Atletico Madrid.

UEFA charged Celtic for a “provocative message of an offensive nature” inside the stadium.

Celtic was fined 20,000 euros ($21,700) by UEFA for the same charge at its previous Champions League home game against Italian club Lazio on October.

At that time, Celtic fans showed an anti-fascist display with an image of Benito Mussolini, the World War II-era Italian dictator, and a slogan using an expletive.

Also Wednesday, UEFA added fines totaling 11,500 euros ($12,500) for fans lighting fireworks and blocking exit passages at the game against Atletico.

Gaza is world's 'most dangerous place' for children: UNICEF
3:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the United Nations children's agency on Wednesday called the besieged Gaza Strip "the most dangerous place in the world to be a child."

UNICEF's executive director Catherine Russell said over 5,300 children have reportedly been killed in Gaza since Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel, accounting for 40 percent of the deaths. "This is unprecedented," she said.

Reports of attack in southern Gaza's Khan Younis
3:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian health ministry has said in its initial approximations that at least six people have been killed and others wounded have been taken to Nasser Hospital for treatment, following an Israeli strike in southern Gaza. 

The attack has “completely destroyed” a residential building in Khan Younis, according to Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Abu Azzoum.

Additionally, an Israeli attack has flattened another residential building in Rafah- with no confirmed reports of casualties.

“These areas are considered to be ‘safe places’ to flee to from the north, but they are experiencing the same level of Israeli bombardments,” Abu Azzoum said.

Switzerland looks to ban Hamas
3:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Swiss government has announced it would bring forward a draft law by the end of February explicitly banning Hamas activities or support for the Palestinian group within Switzerland.

"The Federal Council decided to draft a federal act banning Hamas, considering this to be the most appropriate response to the situation that has prevailed in the Middle East since October 7," the government said in a statement.

"The act will provide the federal authorities with the necessary tools to counter any Hamas activities or support for the organisation in Switzerland."

Pope urges dialogue to avoid 'mountain of dead' in Mideast
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Middle East on Wednesday in a video message, calling for dialogue to avoid "a mountain of dead".

"Let us pray for peace in the Holy Land. Let us pray that the difficulties resolve themselves in dialogue and negotiation and not with a mountain of dead on each side," said the 86-year-old pope.

Another prisoner swap will take place this month
3:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israel-Hamas deal agreed on Wednesday for the freeing of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners will be repeated later this month, a Palestinian official told news agency Reuters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that would mean a total release of 100 of the around 240 people Hamas seized during its Oct. 7 killing spree in southern Israel.

In return, Israel would free a total of 300 Palestinian prisoners in the two exchanges - a number corresponding to a list of women and teenaged male inmates it published on Wednesday as candidates.

A part of the current deal, which is due to begin on Thursday, Israel will pause its almost seven-week-old Gaza war to enable both the staggered recovery of the 50 hostages - all of them women or children - and entry of aid for Palestinians.

"The second batch will follow the first batch. They would need four or five days to organise it will involve 50 Israeli (hostages) in return for 150 Palestinian (prisoners)," the Palestinian official said. He said the prisoners would include elderly, women and children and the conditions will be the same.

Israeli officials did not immediately confirm this. But Israel has offered, in a cabinet statement, to extend the pause by a day for every additional 10 hostages handed over by Hamas.

Occupied West Bank's Bethlehem to cancel Christmas
3:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The municipality Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank has stated that it will not celebrate any traditional festivities in Jesus’s birthplace this year, “in mourning and in honour” of Palestinians killed in Gaza.

The municipality added that they will take a more sombre tone this year, without lights, a traditional tree or a nativity scene.

It also said the holiday will simply focus on mass and prayers for the victims of Israel’s war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Elon Musk to donate ad revenue for Gaza medical services
2:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

 X-owner Elon Musk has said that the social network would begin channeling a portion of its revenue to fund medical care facilities in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories.

The announcement followed Musk and X having been under a microscope all week for antisemitic and racist content that has proliferated on the site since he purchased it in 2022.

Musk endorsed an antisemitic post on X that falsely claimed members of the Jewish community were stoking hatred against white people, drawing sharp condemnation, including from the White House.

US opposes displacement of Gazans to another country
2:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States is against the displacement of Palestinians from the battered Gaza Strip to another country, its special envoy for humanitarian affairs in the Middle East David Satterfield told Lebanese broadcaster al-Jadeed on Wednesday.

Satterfield said Gazans displaced to the strip's south by Israel's military operations "must be allowed to return to homes in the north as soon as possible." He said the U.S. "wants to see Israel succeed in its campaign," and warned Lebanese Hezbollah to halt missile fire on Israel if it wanted to avoid an escalation.

India in G20 summit welcomes Israel-Hamas cease-fire
2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday welcomed a ceasefire in Gaza that's expected to enable the release of dozens of hostages taken by Hamas, and urged leaders of the top rich and developing nations to work together to ensure the Israel's war on Gaza doesn't expand.

Hosting a virtual meeting of Group of 20 leaders, Modi said the hostages should be released and humanitarian assistance expedited. India has the G20 presidency for 2023.

"Terrorism is not acceptable and civilians’ death is condemnable,” he said.

More than 50 from same family killed in north Gaza: minister
2:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 More than 50 members of the same family have been killed in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza during Israel's military campaign there, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Wednesday.

"Only this morning, from the Qadoura family in Jabalia, 52 people have been wiped out completely, killed," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said on the sidelines of a briefing by Arab and Muslim foreign ministers in London.

"I have the list of the names, 52 of them, they were wiped out completely from grandfather to grandchildren."

Meta must stop profiting from hate: organisation
1:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media (7amleh) has issued a report that revealed Meta financially benefitting from anti-Palestinian/ anti-Arab hate speech and incitement in paid advertisements. 

7amleh stated that the investigation was prompted by the discovery that Facebook ran targeted ads calling for the assassination of individuals, and ads calling for the forcible expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to Jordan.

PSC stages sit-in at UK Parliament
1:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) is holding a sit-in in Parliament, following a temporary four-day truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

Activists have called for the British government to back a full ceasefire, as campaigners have been filmed chanting 'call ceasefire now' in videos surfacing on X.

Female Palestinian prisoners' names released are revealed
12:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli  justice ministry has published a list in Hebrew of the 150 Palestinian prisoners, that consists of women and children, that are set to be released by Israel.

Five prisoners are as young as 14 years old, that were imprisoned for offences ranging from allegedly throwing firebombs to arson, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer said that those detained from Gaza, occupied West Bank and Israel was 7,000 and up from about 5,000 prior to the October 7 attack.

The rights group added that this included more than 2,000 people held in “administrative detention,” that is defined as being held indefinitely without any charges.

Former Israeli minister says all two million must leave Gaza
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ayalet Shaked, a former Israeli interior minister, has said that the "solution" for Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip is for all two million people to be forcibly removed from the Palestinian enclave.

Speaking to Israeli TV, Shaked said that other countries should bring in a number of refugees from Gaza.

"We need to take advantage of the destruction [to tell] the countries that each of them should take a quota, it can be 20,000 or 50,000," she told Channel 13.

"We need two million to leave. That's the solution for Gaza."

Activist Brenda Gough condemned Shaked's words and wrote on X that she is "openly admitting to forced displacement, a crime against humanity."

Gaza truce is no more than a 'band aid': Oxfam
12:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

British charity Oxfam has welcomed the truce deal between Israel and Hamas, which was mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the US.

However, the charity has also called out the move as only a "band aid" that will not resolve the humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“This pause of the relentless bombing and destruction that is causing such suffering to more than two million Palestinians is a welcome respite for the delivery of some humanitarian aid – but no more than that," Oxfam GB’s head of policy and advocacy, Katy Chakrabortty, said in a statement.

"The next four days will be eaten up by a desperate emergency effort that can offer only very limited relief, not equal to the size of suffering and destruction and ultimately with no sustainability. This is a band-aid that will be ripped off a bleeding wound after four days."

Israeli ‘non-civilian prisoners’ will not be freed: PIJ
12:22 PM

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) released a statement on its Telegram channel to state that Israeli soldiers will not be released until “all our prisoners are liberated from enemy prisons”.

The PIJ has also been holding captives since October 7 alongside Hamas.

“We emphasise our continued confrontation of aggression, at all field and political levels, in order to thwart all the goals of this aggression,” the statement said.

UN welcomes Israel-Hamas deal as 'important step'
12:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations has welcomed the deal between Israel and Hamas to free hostages and pause the fighting and bombardment in Gaza, but said much more needed to be done.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "welcomes the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas, with the mediation of Qatar supported by Egypt and the United States. This is an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done," a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

Jordan's King Abdullah heads to Cairo for Gaza war efforts
12:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan's King Abdullah headed on Wednesday to Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi on how to end "Israel's aggression against the Palestinians", a palace statement said.

The talks will focus on how to turn a four-day truce agreed between Israel and Hamas into a permanent ceasefire that brings an end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and averts a humanitarian catastrophe, an official told news agency Reuters

Turkey hopes truce deal will help 'completely end' conflict
12:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey said it hoped a deal between Israel and Hamas to free hostages and pause the fighting and bombardment in Gaza can help bring a full end to the war.

"We hope that this humanitarian pause will help to completely end the conflict as soon as possible and initiate a process towards a just and lasting peace on the basis of a two-state solution," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Macron hails Hamas-Israel deal, sets to free hostages
12:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed the deal between Israel and Hamas for release of some hostages and a "humanitarian pause" in fighting in the Gaza Strip.

"We are working tirelessly to get all of the hostages freed," Macron wrote on X (formerly Twitter), with eight French citizens missing since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Israel hostage families say are 'very happy' over releases
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Relatives of hostages seized from Israel by Palestinian militants said Wednesday they were "very happy" some of them were set to be released after a truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

"We are very happy that a partial release is pending," the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement. "As of now, we don't know exactly who will be released when."

Israel expects first Gaza hostages to be released Thursday
12:04 PM

Israel expects to recover on Thursday the first hostages being freed from the Gaza Strip by Hamas under a foreign mediated deal, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio.

Interviewed on Wednesday, he declined to confirm a report that the process would begin at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).

Turkey's Erdogan says he may visit Egypt to discuss Gaza
12:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Tayyip Erdogan said he may travel to Egypt soon and discuss how to accelerate the evacuation of patients from Gaza and other steps, broadcaster Haberturk and other Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from a trip to Algeria, Erdogan was reported as saying the Islamic world must act in a spirit of unity and solidarity on Gaza.

"I may arrange a trip to Egypt as soon as possible," he said. "We will talk about what steps we can take and how can we pave the way for the evacuation of patients." Many of the sick have already been brought from Gaza via Egypt to Turkey.

Erdogan said the Islamic world must act in a spirit of unity and solidarity and be a "single fist" on Gaza. "When that fist hits the table with all its force, it will not be possible for Israel to continue its occupation or oppression."

He said efforts must be made to ensure a ceasefire, deliver sufficient aid to Gaza and rebuild the city, using economic, political and diplomatic means.

"We must force Israel to comply with international law and be held accountable for its actions," he added. 

Arab ministers call for full cessation of hostilities
11:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Arab foreign ministers welcomed an agreement for a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday but said it should be extended and become a first step toward a full cessation of hostilities.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan said at a roundtable discussion with journalists in London that the agreement, which includes hostage releases and stepped-up aid into the devastated Gaza Strip, should also ultimately lead to a resumption of talks for a two-state solution.

The Arab foreign ministers are leading a so-called contact group of mostly Muslim countries which are lobbying Israel's major allies to bring about an end to the Gaza war.

Kremlin says Israel-Hamas deal is 'good news'
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Kremlin on Wednesday hailed a truce deal between Israel and Hamas as "the first good news from Gaza in a very long time".

"Russia and most countries in the world have been calling for a ceasefire and for a humanitarian pause. Because it is only on the basis of these kinds of pauses that some outlines of future attempts at a sustainable settlement can be built," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Egypt's Sisi hails Gaza truce it mediated with Qatar, US
9:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hailed the success Wednesday of the mediation it conducted alongside Qatar and the United States in brokering a "humanitarian truce" in the Gaza Strip.

Sisi also welcomed the planned "exchange of hostages for prisoners" held in Israeli jails, his office said.

Biden 'extraordinarily gratified' over Gaza hostage deal
9:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden said he was deeply relieved that some hostages taken when Hamas militants stormed into Israel on October 7 will soon go free under a deal brokered with help from across the Middle East.

"I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls... will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

Biden thanked the leaders of Qatar and Egypt for their "critical leadership" in reaching the deal and hailed Israel for agreeing to an extended pause in fighting in Gaza to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

He noted that two American hostages were freed in late October following intense diplomatic efforts.

"Today's deal should bring home additional American hostages, and I will not stop until they are all released," Biden said.

EU's von der Leyen welcomes Israel-Hamas truce deal
9:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on Wednesday that she welcomed the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas on the release of the 50 hostages and on a pause in hostilities in Gaza.

"The European Commission will do its utmost to use this pause for a humanitarian surge to Gaza," she said in a statement.

China welcomes Israel-Hamas truce deal
9:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China welcomed on Wednesday a truce deal between Israel and Hamas, after they reached an agreement on a four-day humanitarian pause in exchange for the release of 50 hostages in Gaza.

"We welcome the temporary ceasefire agreement reached by relevant parties," foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing.

Beijing hopes "that it will help ease the plight of the humanitarian crisis, de-escalate the conflict and ease tensions", Mao said.

"Since the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has always called for a ceasefire and made unremitting efforts to cool down the situation, protect civilians and carry out humanitarian assistance," she added.

Jordan says it hopes Gaza truce will be a step to end war
9:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan has said it hoped the Gaza truce would be a step that would end the war in Gaza and prevent the targeting of Palestinians and their displacement from their land.

In a statement on state media, the foreign ministry said it hoped the four-day pause in fighting agreed between the Israel's government and Hamas will allow much-needed humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

Britain welcomes Hamas-Israel deal as 'crucial step'
9:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain on Wednesday welcomed a truce deal between Israel and Hamas as a "crucial step" towards providing relief to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"This agreement is a crucial step towards providing relief to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement.

Pope says Gaza war has gone beyond war to 'terrorism'
9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis on Wednesday met separately with Israeli relatives of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinians with family in Gaza and said the conflict had gone beyond war to become "terrorism".

Speaking in unscripted remarks at his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square shortly after the early morning meetings in his residence, Francis said he heard directly how "both sides are suffering".

Pope Francis greets bishops during his general audience in Saint Peter Square
France hopes French hostages among those released by Hamas
9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France on Wednesday welcomed the Israel-Hamas truce deal, hailing the work of Qatar in securing the agreement and saying it hoped that French nationals would be among the hostages released.

"We hope that there are French" among the hostages that Hamas will free, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on France Inter radio, adding "we hope so and we're working hard toward it".

Eight French citizens have been missing since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and for the moment, it is not known if all of them are being held hostage. "We have to distinguish between the cases that we are certain about and others," Colonna said.

Welcoming the deal as "a moment of real hope", Colonna hailed "particularly the work of Qatar" in clinching it after weeks of tortuous talks.

Six Palestinians killed in Israeli strike in West Bank: WAFA
8:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Six Palestinians were killed on Wednesday in Tolkurm camp in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement.

The Palestinians were targeted in an Israeli drone strike, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported earlier on Wednesday.

Another Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces near the city of Qalqilia, WAFA said, raising the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday to seven.

Germany urges 'vital aid' to Gaza after Israel-Hamas deal
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany's foreign minister has welcomed a truce deal between Israel and Hamas allowing at least 50 hostages to be freed as a "breakthrough", and urged "vital aid" to be sent to Gaza.

"The announced release of the first major group of hostages is a breakthrough -- even if nothing in the world can undo their suffering," said Annalena Baerbock on X, formerly Twitter.

"The humanitarian pause must be used to bring vital aid to people in Gaza."

Senior Palestinian official says welcomes truce deal
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian Authority has welcomed a humanitarian truce agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, a senior Palestinian official said.

"President Mahmud Abbas and the leadership welcome the humanitarian truce agreement, value the Qatari-Egyptian effort made and reaffirm the call for a comprehensive cessation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the entry of humanitarian aid," senior official Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on X, formerly Twitter.