Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters speak with members of the Red Cross during the release of hostages in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 28, 2023. Hamas handed over several hostages to the Red Cross in Gaza, an AFP journalist saw. The hostages, all women, were handed over by masked and armed fighters to Red Cross officials in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, the journalist said. (Credit: Said Khatib/AFP)


12 hostages in transit to Israel; 30 Palestinians released from Israeli prisons: Day 53 of the Hamas-Israel war

What you need to know

The Red Cross confirmed it is en route to Israel with twelve hostages freed by Hamas this evening.

The WHO said there is a serious risk that more people in Gaza could die of disease than from Israeli bombings if the health system was not restored.

The US urges Israel to take greater care during its offensive in southern Gaza, saying that the same thing done in the north of the strip cannot be replicated in the south.

An explosion was heard in the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab with its origins being unknown -- the situation did not escalate.

23:20 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage from day 53 of the Hamas-Israel war.

You can read a summary of today's events here.

We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis right here at L'Orient Today.

22:42 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The Israel Prison Service says it has released 30 Palestinians from Israeli jails, completing the fifth exchange under an extended truce deal with Hamas, Reuters reports.

In a statement, the prison service says the 30 Palestinians were released from Ofer Prison, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and from a detention center in Jerusalem.

21:20 Beirut Time

Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters accompany newly released hostages before handing them over to the Red Cross in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip this evening. (Credit: AFP)

21:13 Beirut Time

Hamas is calling on journalists and news agencies to travel en masse to the Gaza Strip to witness the scale of destruction committed by the Israeli army.

"What is new is the horror of the genocidal war to which our Palestinian people have been subjected, with the aim of driving them to emigrate by deliberately killing and destroying all vital facilities and infrastructure," Hamas said in a statement published on its Telegram group.

21:11 Beirut Time

The French helicopter carrier Dixmude, configured as a hospital ship to treat wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, welcomed its "first patients in relative emergency" in the Egyptian port of al-Arich today, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu announces on the CNEWS television channel.

The hospital infrastructure on board the ship, which docked yesterday (Monday), includes two operating theatres, 40 beds, 80 nurses, scanners and analysis laboratories, says the minister.

21:03 Beirut Time

The International Committee of the Red Cross releases a statement saying: "We have now successfully facilitated the release and transfer of 12 hostages held in Gaza," Reuters reports.

20:48 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Twelve hostages released by Hamas are with the Red Cross on their way to Israeli territory, Reuters reports. Of the twelve, 10 are Israeli citizens, two are foreigners, nine are women, and one is a minor.

20:43 Beirut Time

CIA Director William J. Burns arrived in Qatar today for "secret" talks with Israeli Mossad chief David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Ben Abderrahmane al-Thani, with the intention of negotiating a broader agreement between Israel and Hamas, including a pause of several days, or even a long-term ceasefire -- as reported by several American news outlets, including The Washington Post  and The Wall Street Journal.

This would enable the release of at least ten Israeli hostages per day of the pause, including Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hamas, in exchange for thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Such an agreement would force Israel to hold back on an offensive in southern Gaza aimed at taking control of the whole Strip and eliminating senior Hamas leaders, according to the US media reports. Mr. Burns would also press for the immediate release of the American hostages held by Hamas. American authorities estimate that there are eight or nine such hostages.

20:32 Beirut Time

Hamas senior official Osama Hamdan has invited US billionaire Elon Musk to visit the Gaza Strip to see the extent of destruction caused by the Israeli bombardment, speaking at a press conference in Beirut this evening.

"We invite him to visit Gaza to see the extent of the massacres and destruction committed against the people of Gaza, in compliance with the standards of objectivity and credibility," Hamdan said.

Yesterday (Monday), Elon Musk, the social media mogul assailed for his endorsement of an anti-Jewish post, toured the site of the Hamas assault on Israel and declared his commitment to do whatever was necessary to stop the spread of hatred.

20:31 Beirut Time

Israel has reportedly approved a list of fifty Palestinian women prisoners eligible for release. Among them is 22-year-old Ahed Tamimi, a young icon of the Palestinian cause known for confronting Israeli soldiers, arrested in early November, according to Le Monde.

However, her name does not appear on the list provided this evening by Hamas of the 30 prisoners and minors about to be released from Israeli prisons.

Hamas announced the names of the 15 Palestinian women and 15 Palestinian children Israel will be releasing today, in a statement on its official Telegram channel.

Photo of Tamimi at a rally in London, May 11, 2019. (Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP)

19:36 Beirut Time

Haaretz is reporting that the families of the Israeli hostages being released tonight are being called to the hospitals where their relatives will be brought upon entering Israeli territory.

19:00 Beirut Time

Regarding an earlier news item on talks to be held in Amman about opening Kerem Shalom crossing: Here is a map published by the UN on Oct. 17, 2023 that shows the various crossings along the militarized border around Gaza and their activity prior to the current war. (Credit:

18:57 Beirut Time

The Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Sheikha Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani, told the UN General Assembly that Qatar "hopes that this humanitarian truce will lead to a sustained and durable ceasefire that will put a stop to the war machine and the bloodshed."

Al Thani also reiterated the "call to establish an international committee to investigate the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against civilians in the Gaza Strip." 

Qatar initiated, hosted, and has been mediating the negotiations between Hamas and Israel along with advisors from Egypt and the US. 

18:52 Beirut Time

A commemoration in honor of the journalist from al-Mayadeen, Farah Omar, who was killed a week ago by an Israeli airstrike in South Lebanon, at the Faculty of Information of the Lebanese University today.

Farah Omar studied at the faculty. The 25-year-old journalist, along with journalist Rabih Maamari, 39, and their companion Hussein Akil, were killed on Nov. 21 while covering armed clashes in southern Lebanon, in the border area of Tayr Harfa, Sour district.

On Oct. 13, Lebanese journalist Issam Abdallah of the Reuters agency was killed in a similar bombing, during which six other journalists — two from AFP, two from Reuters, and two from Al Jazeera —were injured.

Photo by Hussam Shbaro

18:44 Beirut Time

The Palestine Red Crescent Society says that Israeli soldiers manning the checkpoint separating northern Gaza from the rest of the Strip are preventing a truck carrying fuel for ambulances from entering the northern areas.

18:38 Beirut Time

Hamas has begun handing over the group of hostages they agreed to release today as part of the two-day extension to the truce deal reached last week, Egyptian sources tell Wall Street Journal. The hostages are being transferred to the International Committee of the Red Cross for transport out of Gaza and into Israel.

18:11 Beirut Time

Jordan's King Abdullah says Israel's military campaigns in Gaza and army operations in the West Bank "negate human values and the right of life," Reuters reports.

18:09 Beirut Time

OCHA chief Martin Griffiths will travel to Amman tomorrow for talks about the possibility of opening the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Israel, Reuters reports.

Located at the intersection of Israel, the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Kerem Shalom crossing was a gateway for more than 60 percent of the deliveries going into Gaza before the current conflict.

Aid currently being allowed into Gaza comes through the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian border, which was designed for pedestrian crossings and not trucks.

"We have said from start we need more than one crossing," Griffiths told a briefing of member states at the UN in Geneva today. "The opportunity to use Kerem Shalom should be explored, and that will be topic in Amman. It would hugely add scope [to the response]."

17:54 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Hamas has "so far released 74 hostages, of which 50 are women and children," and that Israel is "obligated to complete [the deal] and bring about the release of all our hostages – women and children, and later – everyone, without exception," Haaretz reports.

Netanyahu reiterates that Israel must complete its objectives in the war, which include "the release of all captives, the elimination of the terrorist organization Hamas above and below the ground, and of course Gaza will not return to what it was and can no longer pose a threat to our country."

17:49 Beirut Time

Crowds of people walk past destroyed buildings in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis today. (Credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP)

17:48 Beirut Time

In the West Bank, between Oct. 7 and Nov 27, Israeli forces and settlers killed 231 Palestinians, according to the latest report from The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This toll includes 59 children.

Of the 231 killed, 222 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers, and in one case, it is uncertain whether they were killed by a settler or a soldier.

The death toll of this seven-week period represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year so far, and this year has already become the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.

17:33 Beirut Time

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder spoke to Al Jazeera after a visit to Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, during the ongoing truce between Israel and Hamas.

He described what he saw as “devastating,” calling the hospital both an “emergency ward” and a “warzone.”

“Everywhere you turn is a child in incredible need,” Elder said from outside the hospital. “Multiple children with amputations, little boys and little girls who six, seven weeks ago were playing football with their friends.”

17:31 Beirut Time

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) shares a video on X in which one of their doctors describes the situation in a Khan Younis hospital.

In the video, Dr. Hafez Abukhussa says: "I haven't seen this severity of injuries during previous wars ... there are major cases and all the cases include burns." He says the hospital is way beyond capacity, normally treating 300 patients at one given time, now treating over a 1,000.  "Can you imagine receiving 100 to 200 patients a day, sometimes 500?" He says the majority of patients are women and children and that the hospitals are struggling with a lack of medical supplies and instruments.

"We know we are in danger at any time but we will keep doing the [work]," Abukhussa says.

15:49 Beirut Time

Three explosive devices were detonated near Israeli troops in two localities in the northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said in a statement. The attackers reportedly opened fire on the troops, who responded with gunfire. According to the Israeli army, the soldiers were positioned in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

The incident violates the conditions of the cease-fire in place since Nov. 24 between Israel and Hamas. Several soldiers were slightly wounded on the Israeli side.

Hamas commented on the incident in a statement sent on its official Telegram channel, explaining that "due to a clear violation by the enemy of the cease-fire agreement in the northern Gaza Strip today, there was a field clash, and our fighters dealt with this breach. We remain committed to the cease-fire as we have committed to it. We call on the mediators to put pressure on the occupation to adhere to all the terms of the cease-fire on the ground and in the skies."

15:35 Beirut Time

The international community’s failure to agree on a ceasefire is "costing thousands of lives," Save the Children, said in a report published Tuesday, as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) prepares to meet Wednesday to discuss the escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel. “How many lives have to be lost – from children, civilians, humanitarian staff – before the international community steps up and fulfills its legal, diplomatic and moral obligations to keep civilians safe from the clutches of conflict?” said Jason Lee, Save the Children country director in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The international community must stop standing by while children’s rights continue to be egregiously violated. The cost of inaction is the destruction of children’s lives and robbing them of their futures,” Lee added.

15:19 Beirut Time

Gaza’s Health Ministry says the dialysis unit at al-Shifa Hospital has been reopened and is receiving patients, the ministry said in a statement, relayed by several media outlets, most notably Al Jazeera.

The ministry invited patients back to the hospital to resume treatment, the statement noted.

Israeli troops raided al-Shifa earlier this month, which led to the evacuation of hundreds of patients and thousands of displaced people who had been sheltering there.

Israel had said that Hamas has been using the hospital as a command center, which Hamas and the hospital staff have denied.

(Photo: Omar El-Qattaa/AFP)

14:19 Beirut Time

An aerial view shows the destruction caused by Israeli strikes in Wadi Gaza, in the central Gaza Strip, on Nov. 28, 2023, amid a truce in battles between Israel and Hamas. (Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)

13:56 Beirut Time

The directors of Israel's Mossad and the US Central Intelligence Agency are meeting with Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, in Doha to "build on progress" of the 48-hour extension to the truce announced between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, a source briefed on the visit told Reuters on Tuesday.

Egyptian officials were also in attendance, the source said adding the Doha meeting would also broach the next phase of a potential deal.

13:36 Beirut Time

Sources close to Hamas tell AFP that 10 hostages will be released today along with 30 Palestinian prisoners on the Israeli side.

"Lists of the 10 Israeli hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners for the fifth day of the truce were exchanged without objections," the source says. "Some foreign workers held in Gaza will also be released."

13:14 Beirut Time

Qatar is focused on extending the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel beyond Wednesday, counting on the Palestinian militant group's ability to continue releasing 10 hostages a day, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed Al-Ansari, during a press briefing on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Qatar cannot confirm the number of hostages remaining beyond the 20 who will be released by Hamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, he added, as part of the extension of the truce negotiated by the Gulf country alongside Egypt and the United States.

13:11 Beirut Time

Our teams, both in the field and in our newsroom, are ready to cover the situation in real-time. You can follow us here or join the L'Orient Today WhatsApp group to stay fully up-to-date. Sign up here.

13:09 Beirut Time

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told L'Orient Today that the force's peacekeepers in the area heard sounds of machine guns around the southern Lebanon border village of Beit Lif around 10 a.m this morning.

The head of the municipality of Aita al-Shaab Mohammad Srour told L'Orient Today earlier that a huge explosion was heard around the same time with no trace of Israeli shelling. Aita al-Chaab is situated close to Beit Lif.

12:38 Beirut Time

There is a risk that more people will die from diseases than from bombings in Gaza if the enclave's health system is not quickly restored, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said on Tuesday (WHO) cited by Reuters.

"We will end up seeing more people die from diseases than from bombings if we fail to get this health system back on track," said Margaret Harris of the WHO.

She described the collapse of al-Shifa Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip as a "tragedy" and expressed concern about the detention of some medical staff by Israeli forces.

12:36 Beirut Time

The United States has called on Israel to pay greater attention to the protection of civilians and limit damage to infrastructure if it launches an offensive in the south of the Gaza Strip, in order to avoid further population displacements that would overwhelm humanitarian efforts, senior US officials were quoted as saying by Reuters.

The message was conveyed by President Joe Biden to the highest levels, these officials said in a conference call.

“We have stressed to the Israeli government that it is very important that the Israeli campaign, when it moves south, is carried out in a way that avoids as much as possible causing further significant displacement of people,” declared one of the officials. “It is not possible to replicate in the south the type of displacement that took place in the north. It will be more than disruptive, it will be beyond the capacity of any humanitarian support network,” the official said, adding, “This can’t happen.”

The official said the campaign must be "deconflictualized" from electricity, water, humanitarian sites and hospitals in southern and central Gaza, meaning avoiding attacks on these types of infrastructure. He added that Israelis had been receptive to the idea "that a different type of campaign needed to be waged in the south."

12:33 Beirut Time

The United States will send three military planes loaded with aid to the Gaza Strip to Egypt starting Tuesday, White House officials announced, cited by AFP.

The aircraft, the first of which is due to arrive on Tuesday and the other two to follow "in the coming days," will be loaded with medical and food aid as well as winter equipment, which will be distributed by the United Nations, they said. they clarified during an interview with the press on Monday, the content of which was under embargo.

12:13 Beirut Time

For years Israel has used "arbitrary detention" as a means of holding Palestinian prisoners indefinitely. This practice has only expanded in the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack.

So what is it like for Palestinians in Israeli prisons?

Read the full report here.

12:07 Beirut Time

A French ship has docked in Egypt's al-Arish port to treat children wounded in Gaza as part of a growing Western effort to provide aid to the besieged enclave.

While not yet operational, the ship is expected to start receiving patients later this week.

For more details, click here.

11:11 Beirut Time

A loud explosion was heard in the southern Lebanon border village of Aita al-Chaab around 9 a.m. without a trace of any Israeli bombing, the head of the municipality of Aita al-Shaab Mohammad Srour tells L'Orient Today. Contacted by L'Orient Today, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army could not immediately confirm what the sound was. State-run Lebanese National News Agency reported that the Israeli army fired an artillery shell on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, without further details.

Rosa Srour, a local from Aita al-Chaab, tells L'Orient Today that "around 45 minutes ago, we heard an explosion." "It seems like it was an explosion around (the Israeli position of) Tallet al-Raheb. It was very loud. I thought the bombardments started again," she adds.

10:18 Beirut Time

Turkey announced that, despite earlier reporting, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi would not be visiting the country on Tuesday, AFP reports.

No reason was given for the change.

09:44 Beirut Time

For many Palestinian refugees living in neighboring countries after being displaced following the Nakba (Catastrophe) in 1948 of the wars the followed, they still have friends and family residing inside Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

As the war in Gaza has continued, watching the news has been excruciating as many worry about their loved ones trapped under the Israeli bombs.

In Lebanon, Fatima al-Ashwah has gone from anxiety to mourning as she received news about those she was close to died in Israel's military offensive.

Read the full story here.

09:28 Beirut Time

A soldier stands near a car destroyed in a strike by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement in Kibbutz Manara in northern Israel near the Lebanon border, on Nov. 27, 2023. Israeli soldiers deployed in the north of the country remain committed while exchanges of gunfire with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon are almost daily. (Credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP)

09:26 Beirut Time

Iran and Turkey have been two of the most outspoken countries when it comes to Israel's bombardment of Gaza following Hamas's unexpected attack on Oct. 7. 

Iran has called for a boycott of Israel and for countries to cut diplomatic relations with the Jewish state while Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called Israel a "terrorist state."

Now, the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is going to visit Turkey on Tuesday where he is expected to try and pressure Turkey to act on its rhetoric and cut trade with Israel.

Read the full details here.

09:09 Beirut Time

Late Monday night, Khalil al-Hayya, a Hamas official, said that the group had sought to expand the terms of the prisoner swap to include prisoners beyond just women and children, Reuters reported.

These comments came after Israel expanded the list of prisoners viable for release from Israeli prisons, hinting that a revision to the original truce agreement was being considered.

"We hope the Occupation (Israel) abides (by the agreement) in the next two days because we are seeking a new agreement, besides women and children, whereby other categories that we have that we can swap," Al-Hayya told Al Jazeera, adding that this would entail "going towards an additional time period to continue swapping people at this stage."

09:00 Beirut Time

Before we get started, take a look at the latest Morning Brief to make sure that you are caught up on what has been happening.

The Morning Brief

Gaza truce extended, Hezbollah to compensate southern Lebanese and emergency schooling for displaced southerners: Everything you need to know to start your Tuesday

08:59 Beirut Time

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of day 53 of the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. Today marks the first day of the two-day extension of the truce and prisoner swap.