Day Fifty-Three Of Swords Of Iron

A cyberattack on November 28 overnight knocked out Magen David emergency services' telecommunications.

IDF soldier pointing in Gaza IDF photo

6:49 pm

Group of Seven countries' foreign ministers said in a joint statement that they support the further extension of the current pause and future pauses in hostilities in Gaza in order to increase assistance and facilitate the release of all hostages. “Every effort must be made to ensure humanitarian support for civilians, including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. We support the further extension of this pause and future pauses as needed to enable assistance to be scaled up, and to facilitate the release of all hostages,” the joint statement said.

US national security council spokesman John Kirby said that the Biden administration is working to extend the current pausein the hope that more American hostages will be released by Hamas. The US believes Hamas is holding eight to nine American hostages after the release of a four-year-old girl in an earlier exchange. Kirby says that the US does not see any indication that Hamas militants are refusing to release further American hostages in order to use them as leverage.

5:00 pm

Earlier in November, the US Department of Education’s office for civil rights opened investigations into possible ancestry or ethnic discrimination at several universities, including Cornell, Pennsylvania, Wellesley College, Cooper Union, Lafayette College, the University of Tampa, and Columbia. 

The presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will testify before a congressional committee next week on claims that antisemitic protests have taken place on their campuses since the Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7.

Next Tuesday, Harvard’s Claudine Gay, University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill, and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth will appear before the House of Representative's education and workforce committee, which is chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC). The hearing is titled Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism.. Foxx stated: "Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen countless examples of antisemitic demonstrations on college campuses. Meanwhile, college administrators have largely stood by, allowing horrific rhetoric to fester and grow.Foxx said college and university presidents have a responsibility to foster and uphold a safe learning environment for both students and staff."

“Now is not a time for indecision or milquetoast statements,” she added. "By holding this hearing, we are shining the spotlight on these campus leaders and demanding they take the appropriate action to stand strong against antisemitism."

Today, the Department of Defense said it has suspended flights of surveillance drones over Gaza during the truce. “In compliance with the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas, we are not currently conducting those ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] flights. And so those have been paused for now,” spokesman Brig Gen Patrick Ryder said at a press conference. The drone flights aided in the search for American hostages taken by Hamas. As many as nine US citizens are still being held. No Americans were released by Hamas today or in any of the five batches of hostages released since the truce took effect last week.

4:49 pm

A photo emerged of a swastika placed in a stall in a men's lavatory at New York City's Baruch College.

Baruch College swastika in bathroom


4:43 pm

The Guardian summarized the day's events:

The latest exchange of hostages in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails appeared to be going smoothly on Tuesday night. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said that 12 hostages, including 10 Israelis and two foreign nationals, are on their way to Israeli territory. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed 12 hostages had been successfully released. The 30 Palestinians to be released from Israeli prisons on Tuesday include 15 children and 15 women, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said.

Another 50 Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails have been put forward as candidates for release after the hostage swap and ceasefire deal with Hamas in the Gaza Strip was extended for another two days – including the high-profile activist Ahed Tamimi.

US and Israeli spy chiefs have flown to Qatar for talks on how to extend the current truce in Gaza in exchange for the release of more hostages by Hamas. The discussions of the CIA director, William Burns, and the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, with the Qatari leadership are expected to focus on persuading Hamas to begin releasing the men among the remaining hostages. 

The initial four-day truce between Israel and Hamas has been extended by two days, but there were reports of some Israeli tank fire in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City in the morning. An Israeli shell was also reported to have landed inside Lebanon. Although Lebanon and Hezbollah are not formal parties to the ceasefire, there had been a lull in the conflict there once fighting had subsided in Gaza.

Israel has said a number of soldiers were lightly injured in Gaza after “three explosive devices were detonated adjacent to IDF troops in two different locations”. In a Telegram message on Tuesday, the IDF said: “In one of the locations, terrorists also opened fire at the troops, who responded with fire.”

Hamas has accused Israel of a “blatant breach of the ceasefire” in the northern Gaza Strip but said it was “still committed to the ceasefire so long as the enemy is committed to it”. In a statement on Tuesday, Hamas urged mediators to intervene to reinforce the ceasefire, adding that Israel’s actions had led to retaliation by its fighters.

Israel’s far-right security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has urged Benjamin Netanyahu to end the truce deal after the incidents. In a statement on Tuesday, Ben-Gvir pressed the Israeli prime minister to “order the IDF to resume forcefully crushing Hamas”, adding: “We cannot wait for them to kill our fighters.”

The Israeli military is using the truce to “strengthen readiness” and is “preparing to continue fighting to dismantle Hamas”, Israel’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, has said. “Today, the IDF is ready to continue fighting,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) has said Israeli forces are preventing a fuel truck from entering the north of Gaza. The truck, which was passing through a checkpoint which separates the north of the strip from the south, was carrying fuel to support the work of seven PRCS ambulances operational in northern Gaza, it said on Tuesday.

The population of Gaza, especially women and children, are at “high risk of famine” if humanitarian food supplies do not continue past the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. In an update on Tuesday, the WFP said it had delivered food to 121,161 people in Gaza since the truce began on Friday. “Six days is simply not enough to provide all the assistance needed,” it said.

There is a risk that more people could die from diseases than from bombings in Gaza if the territory’s health system is not put back on its feet quickly, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson said on Tuesday. “Eventually we will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system,” the WHO’s Margaret Harris said.

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, has met with his Thai counterpart, Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, and 17 Thai citizens who have been released from captivity in Gaza. An estimated 15 Thai citizens remain in captivity in Gaza. According to Cohen, 39 Thai citizens were killed during the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

Israel’s military and intelligence officials were given a highly detailed warning that Hamas was actively training to take over kibbutzim on the Gaza border and overrun military posts with the aim of inflicting substantial fatalities, according to reports in the Israeli media.

4:19 pm

Attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria have ceased ever since Israel and Hamas concluded a ceasefire agreement last week, according to the Pentagon. Since mid-October, US forces there have been attacked by drones and rockets at least 70 times. The US has blamed terrorists supported by Iran. “There have been no attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria since November 23, since the operational pause began,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said. Dozens of US troops have been injured by the attacks. They are in Iraq and Syria to stem a resurgence of the Islamic State (ISIS/Daesh) jihadist group — but all have since returned to duty.

The head of Israel's spy agency is meeting with his US CIA counterpart in Qatar to discuss a possible extension of the ceasefire beyond its Nov. 30 morning deadline. Israeli PM Netanyahu is meeting with his cabinet in Tel Avivk, reportedly to discuss diplomatic efforts or a return to fighting. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told high-ranking officers that troops will remain in Gaza as long as needed to return security to Israeli residents of southern Israel. He also announced plans for an eventual return of communities near the Gaza border. 

Gallant said that the first communities to be rehabilitated would be those outside the northern Gaza Strip and at least 4 kilometers away. “Once the IDF is operating in northern Gaza, it changes everything and allows this to take place,” he says, according to a readout from his office. “Soon we’ll work on other places too, change them in kind, return people to other places. All this under the total protection of the IDF and the Israeli government.” He said: “We are committed to staying in Gaza and carrying out all of our missions to bring these communities back; the mission is not complete until we finish off this problem called Hamas.”

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed today in fighting with IDF troops during raids in the West Bank, according to Palestine's health ministry. According to Hamas, Amir Wahdan, 14, was killed in Tubas in the northern West Bank, where the army said troops had gone in to arrest “two wanted suspects.” Clashes ensued after teens threw stones at Israeli troops. Soldiers responded with fire. According to the IDF, “several gunmen opened fire at the security forces, who responded with live fire.”

Near Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, Malik Deghreh, 17, was killed by Israeli fire, according to the Palestinian heatlh ministry. Clashes broke out when Israeli troops carried out a search. 

On the evening of Nov. 27, a young Palestinian was killed in Beitunia, a village between the Israeli Ofer prison and Ramallah. The IDF wentinto Beitunia “to prevent any riots” but that as soldiers approached, “assailants hurled explosive devices and Molotov cocktails at the forces and lit up trash on the main road.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir threatens to break apart the government if Israel does not restart its war with Hamas. “Stopping the war = breaking apart the government,” he stated. Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party holds six seats in the coalition, and has three cabinet ministers. Should Ben Gvir defect, PM Netanyahu's coalition should survive as long as it can count on Benny Gantz’s National Unity party remaining in the fold. 

3:46 pm

Columnist Cookie Schwaeber-Issan writes that the United Nations has a double standard when it comes to the rape and murder of Jewish women by Muslim terrorists. 

3:15 am

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Yossie Hollander called for going to war against anti-semitism rather than any effort to "handle" it.  In an interview with Jewish Insider:

Judah Ari Gross: Let’s speak first about combating antisemitism in the U.S. and especially on college campuses.

Yossie Hollander: In the short term, the priorities of American Jewry should be to make sure that the American support for whatever Israel needs to do continues. And that is not a given at all. 

JAG: When you say support, you mean from the United States government or from within the American Jewish community?

YH: The United States government. We need [President Joe] Biden to stand with Israel. We know the patterns in the past that we get initial support from the U.S. but only to a certain point. And then whoever decides or pressures the administration that this is enough and [Israel] should stop. We can’t afford to stop right now. So that’s why I think this is the most important thing right now.

3:10 pm

Well-regarded columnist and author Caroline B. Glick of the Jerusalam News Service opined that the Biden administration is the main obstacle to an Israeli victory in Gaza and the eventual stability and survival of the Jewish state. She wrote that Israel is dependent on the US for ammunition and weapons systems and must alter its war plans to suit the Biden administration.

Israeli hostages released by Hamas November 28 2023

3:02 am

The Israel Prisons Service confirmed that it facilitated the release of 30 Palestinian inmates, as part of the deal to free Israelis held hostage in Gaza. The list includes 15 women and 15 minors. Alongside Hamas terrorist accompanying hostages to a Red Cross meeting point were armed members of the Islamic Jihad terror group. The latter group is allied with Hamas and is thought to have held a number of Israelis kidnapped on October 7 hostage.

The Israel Defense Forces says 12 hostages — 10 Israelis and two Thai nationals — released by Hamas are now in Israel and are under the guard of special forces and members of the Shin Bet security agency. “After they undergo an initial medical assessment of their health, our forces will accompany them until they are reunited with their families,” the IDF declared. The IDF asked the public to “demonstrate patience and sensitivity during this time out of respect for the released hostages and their families.”

When the the Red Cross successfully transferred 12 hostages from Hamas in Gaza, it announced “We have been able to carry out this operation thanks to our neutral intermediary role.” Video showed that residents of Gaza jostled the vehicles bearing the hostages to safety while jeering and whistling.  Ten Israelis and two Thais were liberated.

The list of the 10 Israelis freed from Hamas captivity: 

Ditza Heiman, 84, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a mother of four, stepmother of three, grandmother to 20 and great-grandmother of five.

Tamar (Tami) Metzger, 78, from Kibbutz Nir Oz. Her husband, Yoram Metzger, 80, remains a hostage in Gaza.

Ada Sagi, 75, from Kibbutz Nir Oz. A mother of three, she learned Arabic to befriend neighbors and later taught the language to others as a way to improve communication with the Palestinians who live on the southeastern border of the Gaza Strip.

Philippines-born Noralin Babadila Agojo, also known as Nora or Natalie, 60. She was taken from Kibbutz Nirim on October 7 and her Israeli-born husband Gideon Babani was killed. The couple lived in the central town of Yehud and were visiting friends on the kibbutz.

Rimon Kirsht Buchshtav, 36, also from Kibbutz Nirim. Her husband, Yagev Buchshtav, 34, remains a hostage in Gaza.

Mia Leimberg, 17, her mother, Gabriela Leimberg, 59, and family member Clara Marman, 62. The Jerusalemites were taken from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7.

Argentina-born Ofelia Roitman, 77, from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Meirav Tal, 54, from Kibbutz Nir Oz. She was taken hostage with partner Yair Yaakov, 59, the father of brothers Or Yaakov, 16, and Yagil Yaakov, 13, who were released on Monday.

There are reports that diplomatic negotiations may result in further hostage release. Israeli PM Netanyahu and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz have issued ambivalent statements — insisting that all the hostages must and will be returned. “So far we’ve released 74 hostages — of whom 50 children and women were in the original framework,” says Netanyahu in a video clip filmed earlier today. “We are committed to completing this framework — to release all of our hostages, women and children. And after that, all of them, without exception.”

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said in a video: “We are in the midst of days during which we are acting to return all of the female and male hostages that it is possible to release from captivity. And we will continue to use all means possible so that all of them are returned to their homes. After the ceasefire, the fire will resume. The entire war cabinet is unified on this position. There is no other option.”

1;15 pm

Ten Israeli hostages and between 6 to 8 Thai hostages have been handed over to the Red Cross from the terrorists holding them in Gaza.

A group tracking antisemitism in Germany said  today there has been a dramatic increase of antisemitic incidents in the country in the month after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. The RIAS group said it recorded 994 incidents, which is an average of 29 incidents per day and an increase of 320% compared to the same time period in 2022. The group looked at the time period from Oct. 7 to Nov. 9.

The Biden administration told Israel that it must work to avoid “significant further displacement” of Palestinian civilians in southern Gaza if it renews its ground campaign aimed at eradicating the Hamas group, senior U.S. officials said.

11:39 am

The IDF announced that three soldiers are confirmed dead who had been abducted by Hamas on October 7. They are: Staff Sgt. Tomer Yaakov Ahimas, 20, from Lehavim; Sgt. Kiril Brodski, 19, from Ramat Gan; and Sgt. Shaked Dahan, 19, from Afula. The three were killed on October 7. The three are listed as “fallen soldiers held hostage by a terror group,” but Ahimas and Brodski can be buried according to Jewish religious law. Their deaths bring the toll of fallen IDF soldiers since October 7 to 395.

11:30 am

Greta Thunberg joined others chanting “crush Zionism” at a recent pro-Palestinian rally in Sweden. According to Nigel Savage of the UK, “large parts of ‘the left’ or ‘progressives’ have been intellectually captured by a naive, distorted and frankly bigoted anti-Zionism,” in report by The Times of Israel. Savage said, "It is a microcosm of a far larger and far greater challenge. It’s sad and disturbing.” Thunberg chanted: “What are we going to do? We will crush Zionism.” Thunberg and her parents are militant leftists.  

11:00 am

The Guardian summarized the day's events:

Hamas has accused Israel of a “blatant breach of the ceasefire” in the northern Gaza Strip, but has said it “was still committed to the ceasefire so long as the enemy is committed to it.”
Israel says that “a number of soldiers were lightly injured” inside Gaza, after “three explosive devices were detonated adjacent to IDF troops in two different locations”. It said “In one of the locations, terrorists also opened fire at the troops, who responded with fire.”

The initial four day truce has been extended by two days, but there were reports of some Israeli tank fire in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City in the morning. An Israeli shell was also reported to have landed inside Lebanon. Although Lebanon and Hezbollah are not formal parties to the ceasefire, there had been a lull in the conflict there once fighting had subsided in Gaza.

Eleven more Israeli hostages were freed from Gaza on Monday in return for dozens of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hamas released the hostages – nine children and two women – late on Monday. All of them are from the Nir Oz kibbutz.

Shortly afterwards, a release of a further 33 Palestinian detainees – 30 children and three women – was confirmed by Israel’s prison authority. It was the last exchange under the initial ceasefire deal. So far, 150 Palestinians have been released from Israeli prisons.

Israel is expecting the release of ten further hostages later today, with 30 detainees from Israel’s jails expected to be released in return.

An Israeli hostage freed by Hamas has said in an interview that she was initially fed well in captivity until conditions worsened and people became hungry. Ruti Munder, 78, said she was kept in a “suffocating” room and slept on plastic chairs with a sheet for nearly 50 days.

Israel’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, has said the Israeli military is using the truce to “strengthen readiness” and is “preparing to continue fighting to dismantle Hamas”.

There is a risk that more people could die from diseases than from bombings in Gaza if the territory’s health system is not put back on its feet quickly, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson said on Tuesday. “Eventually we will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system,” the WHO’s Margaret Harris said.

The Gaza health ministry says the dialysis unit at al-Shifa hospital has been reopened and is receiving patients.

It has been reported that the directors of the Mossad and the CIA have met Qatar’s prime minister in Doha to “build on progress” of the 48-hour extension to the truce.
Palestinian media has reported that three people were killed by Israeli forces inside the occupied West Bank overnight.

10:57 am

A multi-national financial task force is working to crack down on funding for Hamas and other terror groups, U.S. officials said on Nov. 27. Financial intelligence units in 13 Western nations, including: Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United
Kingdom, are looking to coordinate more effectively on financial intelligence and information sharing and create the task force shortly after Hamas' Oct. 7 incursion into Israel, according to a U.S. Treasury statement.

10:37 am

Released by Hamas on Nov. 27, Roni Kariboy said that when the building where he was being held in Gaza was bombed and collapsed, and he managed to escape and for 4 days tried to reach the Israeli border. In the end he was captured by "Gaza civilians” who handed him over to Hamas. He is now safe in Israel.

10:02 am

Religious leaders call on Congress to 'take action now' to combat antisemitism, and defend Israel. Fox News reported: 

Faith & Freedom Coalition leaders were joined by more than a dozen religious leaders from across the country in writing a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week.

"We the undersigned leaders of American religious communities and organizations, join herein to defend the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the values that unite us as people of faith," they wrote, noting that the group represents "many faith traditions and have come together, in one voice, to defend our shared humanity against barbarism and terror." 

9:38 am

The IDF reported that soldiers were wounded after being attacked by Hamas in northern Gaza. This is an apparent first serious violation of the current ceasefire. Hamas accused the IDF of violating the ceasefire first. According to the IDF, three explosive devices were detonated near IDF atroops at two separate locations in northern Gaza, “in violation of the truce agreements.” In one incident, Hamas directed gunfire at IDF troops, who returned fire. “In both cases, the IDF forces were within the agreed-upon ceasefire lines,” IDF added. Hamas claimed its forces were responding to a “clear violation” by the IDF in the northern Gaza Strip, which resulted in a clash. It offers no other details.

Hamas says it is “committed to the truce as long as the enemy adheres to it, and we call on the mediators to pressure the occupation to adhere to all the terms of the truce on the ground and in the air.”

Irishman Thomas Hand, father of Emily, 9, who was released from Hamas captivity, said she thought she had been held hostage for a year and now cries herself to sleep. He told CNN that her recovery will be slow. "She’s coming out slowly, little by little,” Hand said. “We’ll only know what she really went through as she opens up,” he said. “I want to know so much information … but you have to let them, when they are ready, come out with it.” Her transformation during captivity was shocking he said: “It was only when she stepped back that I could see her face was chiseled, like mine, whereas before it was chubby, girly, a young kid face.” “The most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering, you couldn’t hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips,” he said. “She’d been conditioned not to make any noise.” She thought that she had been held hostage for "a year." “Apart from the whispering, that was a punch in the guts. A year.” The girl cries herself to sleep every night. “Last night she cried until her face was red and blotchy, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want any comfort, I guess she’s forgotten how to be comforted,” Hand said:  “She went under the covers of the bed, the quilt, covered herself up and quietly cried.” Emily was sleeping at a friends house at the time of the Hamas assault. Initiatlly, she was reported about those murdered. But it was later announced that she was among the hostages. Emily’s mother died of cancer several years ago.

Devora Cohen -- aunt of Eitan Yahalomi, 12, who was released from Gaza captivity last night -- told French TV that terrorists forced him to watch videos of their atrocities. She said that any child who cried while in captivity: “they threatened them with rifles to shut them up.” Cohen said “the Hamas terrorists forced him to watch films of the horrors, the kind that no one wants to see, they forced him to watch them.” She referred to Hamas terrorists as "monsters.” “When he arrived in Gaza, all the residents, everyone, beat him. He is a 12-year-old child,” she said.

A duel Israeli-French citizen, Yahalomi was initially taken captive with his mother and two sisters, but they managed to escape and return to Israel. Yaholomi was carried into Gaza on a moped. Separately, Eitan’s father, Ohad, who was shot in a gun battle with the Hamas terrorists, was also apparently taken captive to Gaza, where he remains.

Sixteen of the released Thai hostages will be freed from hospital and return home to Thailand tomorrow, Israeli Army Radio reported.

Qatar says that negotiations for the release of IDF troops held hostage by Hamas will begin after civilian hostages are freed. Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said, “The current priority is the release of civilian hostages, women and children, then will come the turn of the military ones.” Al-Ansari also said that Qatar cannot confirm the release of any additional Israeli hostages beyond the 20 to be released in two groups of ten today and tomorrow according to the terms of the two-day extension of the truce agreed to by the parties.

“Qatar is supporting all regional efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” Al-Ansari adds, noting that there is ongoing coordination among Arab countries to issue a joint message to this effect to the international community.

Mossad chief David Barnea is in Doha for talks with CIA director Bill Burns and top Qatari officials. This is his third trip to Qatar since the start of the war, and he also hosted top Qatari officials in Israel, as Doha mediates between Israel and Hamas. Israel and Hamas have agreed on a two-day extension of the temporary truce in order to allow for the release of at least 20 more hostages from Gaza. Barnea seeks the smooth release of the additional 20 hostages and possibly expanding the temporary truce for more days in order to ensure the release of all the women and children.

Israel believes there were up to 93 women and children being held by the terror groups, excluding five female soldiers, and believes the next two days are critical in getting Hamas to extend the deal to include all of them. Israel has agreed to release 30 Palestinian prisoners and extend the truce by 24 hours for every 10 Israeli hostages released. Hamas has released 51 Israelis and another 19 foreign workers. Barnea’s trip is to lay the groundwork for future deals that could include those hostages who did not fall under the current agreement, including men and possibly soldiers.

Ofri Bibas pleaded for the release of her brother Yarden Bibas, his wife Shiri, 32, and their sons Ariel, 4, and 10-month-old Kfir. “We’re talking to you today because tomorrow is the last day of the current ceasefire,” she tells reporters. “At the moment they are the youngest hostages still remaining in Hamas captivity.” “We don’t know where they’ve been held. From what we know, they are kept underground,” says Ofri. “We’re really worried about the 10-month-old baby with formula as the main diet.”

“We call upon the Israeli government and Qatar and Egypt, everybody who is involved in these negotiations and this deal, to do whatever they can to include our family in this deal and to release them as soon as possible,” says Ofri. The Bibas family, father Yarden, mother Shiri, baby Kfir and four-year-old Ariel, were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from 
The IDF said on Nov. 27 that the Bibas family was transferred by Hamas to another Palestinian terror group in Gaza, dampening hopes of their release during the current truce. Ofri Bibas said the failure to release her loved ones is a form of psychological warfare. “It’s working really well because the last four days have been a big nightmare,” she says. “I hope they don’t hold them as a trophy.”

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says the dialysis unit at Al Shifa Hospital has been reopened and is receiving patients. Israeli troops raided Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, earlier this month, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of patients and thousands of displaced people who had been sheltering there. The hospital had run low on food, water and electricity, and was no longer able to accept patients. Israel says Hamas used the hospital for military purposes, revealing a secret tunnel leading to several rooms under the complex, along with other evidence, including weapons, indicating the presence of the terror group. 

The World Health Organization says there are still 180 patients, including 22 on kidney dialysis, and seven healthcare workers at Al Shifa.

The family of Ravid Katz, who was believed to have been taken hostage, announce that they have been informed that he was killed on October 7, and his body has been identified. Katz is the brother of Doron Katz-Asher, who was released last week along with her daughters Raz, 5, and Aviv, 2. “Yesterday we were informed of the bitter news that Ravid Katz, the brother of my wife Doron, was killed in the events of Oct. 7,” says brother-in-law Yoni Asher in a statement. “Ravid lived in Kibbutz Nir Oz, was a man of education, of the beautiful Land of Israel, a wonderful father to Shahar, Shira, and little Alma who is six months old, and a partner to Revital. We will always remember him.”

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi meets with municipal officials of northern Israel, telling them the IDF is prepared for any scenario along the Lebanese border. “We made a difficult decision to evacuate the residents in the north, and I am full of appreciation for the way you showed resilience and patience, and allowed us to fight,”  Halevi said. Residents' return will be coordinated with local authorities “on the understanding that we will not be able to return to the situation that existed here before the war.”

“For the past eight weeks, IDF fighters and their commanders have been fighting with determination and defending our home. We will continue to fight and are ready for developments in other arenas, including in the north,” he says.

There have been repeated clashes along the border between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian groups, but the frontier has been largely quiet since a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect in Gaza on Friday.

8:24 am

Essential phone services in Israel, such as Magen David Adom (MDA), police and the fire brigade, went down overnight amid a malfunction potentially due to a cyberattack.

The Guardian newspaper summarized the day's events:

Eleven more Israeli hostages have been freed from Gaza in return for dozens of Palestinians held in Israeli jails, as the two sides agreed to extend the existing ceasefire by two days. Hamas released the hostages – nine children and two women – late on Monday. All of them are from the Nir Oz kibbutz.

The Israeli hostages released on Monday evening included three with French citizenship, two with German citizenship and six Argentinian citizens. Osnat Peri, a kibbutz official, said their return to Israel after 51 days in captivity brought “a sigh of relief to our community, however we remain deeply concerned about our loved ones that are still held hostage.”

Shortly afterwards, a release of a further 33 Palestinian detainees – 30 children and three women – was confirmed by Israel’s prison authority. It was the last exchange under the initial ceasefire deal. Monday’s releases brought to 51 the number of Israelis freed under the truce, along with 19 hostages of other nationalities. So far, 150 Palestinians have been released from Israeli prisons.

An Israeli hostage freed by Hamas has said in an interview that she was initially fed well in captivity until conditions worsened and people became hungry. Ruti Munder, 78, said she was kept in a “suffocating” room and slept on plastic chairs with a sheet for nearly 50 days.

One of the Palestinian children released from an Israeli prison has told Al Jazeera he was beaten by Israeli guards last week and his hand and finger were broken. Mohammed Nazzal, a teenager originally from Jenin, said he was given no treatment in the prison in the Negev desert despite his injuries and had only had his arm put in a sling by the Red Cross after he was released.

A London surgeon has described witnessing a “massacre” unfold during 43 days spent under bombardment in Gaza, and said the destruction of the Palestinian health system was a military objective of the war. Speaking at a press conference in London, Prof Ghassan Abu-Sittah told of horrific scenes at al-Ahli Arab and Dar al-Shifa hospitals as they ceased to function and said he witnessed the use of white phosphorus munitions. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied using such weapons.

Aid agencies have welcomed the two-day extension of the truce in Gaza but voiced concern that the expected resumption of Israel’s attack on Hamas would lead to an even deeper humanitarian crisis among Palestinians. A particular concern was the impact on people in the crowded south of the strip, where about 2 million people are now living around Khan Younis and elsewhere. Many fled south after Israel demanded they evacuate the northern area around Gaza City last month.

Al Jazeera reports that 100 humanitarian aid trucks entered northern Gaza on Tuesday.

Lebanon’s state news agency has reported that an Israeli shell hit near the southern Lebanese town of Aita al-Shaab. While the truce deal does not formally include Lebanon or Hezbollah, weeks of shelling across the UN-drawn blue line that separates Lebanon and Israel had halted after the pause of fighting in Gaza.

The office of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has announced that Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, will not be visiting Ankara as expected today. No reason was given for the change of plans.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will visit Israel, the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates this week to press for more humanitarian aid for Gaza and help secure the release of all hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

France’s helicopter carrier Dixmude has docked in Egypt and could start to be used for treating wounded children from Gaza later this week, the French defence minister, Sébastien Lecornu, said.


November 28, 2023

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Swords of Iron