November 26, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Chris Lau, Ivana Kottasová, Sophie Tanno, Tara Subramaniam, Antoinette Radford and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:11 AM ET, Mon November 27, 2023
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6:42 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

A 4-year-old American was among those freed in another exchange between Israel and Hamas. Here's the latest

From CNN staff

Undated photo of Abigail Edan.
Undated photo of Abigail Edan. Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali

Another 17 hostages held in Gaza have been released on Sunday, the third such handover during a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas.

The group was made up of Israelis, dual Israeli citizens and Thai nationals, Israel's military said.

Among the freed hostages was 4-year-old American-Israeli Abigail Edan whose release marks the first time an American hostage has been successfully freed since the start of the truce. US President Joe Biden, who praised Edan's release in an address Sunday, spoke with the girl's family Sunday afternoon, according to the White House.

The 4-year-old is now receiving treatment at a hospital near Tel Aviv, a spokesperson from the Hostage and Missing Families’ Forum told CNN. The 16 other freed hostages had also been transferred to hospitals by late Sunday evening local time, according to information released by Israel’s Ministry of Health.

Officials released a full list of the freed hostages' names and ages. They include two mothers with their children and a pair of siblings.

If you’re just joining us, here are today's other key headlines:

Palestinian teens released from Israel jails: Thirty-nine prisoners and detainees from a total of seven Israeli prisons were released Sunday as part of the deal between Israel and Hamas, the Israel Prison Service confirmed. The group is made up of boys aged 18 and younger; two are 15, and one — the youngest released — is 14.

Twenty-three of those released had been held under administrative detention, a widely criticized practice in which a detainee is unaware of any charges against them, and their case is not subject to any legal process.

Talks of extending truce: Hamas wants to extend its four-day truce with Israel beyond Monday through an agreement to free more imprisoned Palestinians, it said in a statement after the latest transfer. Israel's war cabinet discussed the possibility at its meeting Sunday evening, a source told CNN, and their conditions remain unchanged: Hamas would need to release an additional 10 hostages for each additional day’s pause in the fighting.

Key nations also support extension: US President Joe Biden's goal is to extend the pause in fighting to try to ensure the safe release of more hostages and to get critical aid to civilians in the enclave, he said in a news conference Sunday. Qatar, which played a central role in mediating the original agreement, said it too was hoping to extend the truce.

Aid trucks enter Gaza: At least 120 aid trucks have entered Gaza through the Rafah border on Sunday, the Egyptian government confirmed. The delivery of aid to Gaza has been a key factor in sustaining the truce and exchanges between Israel and Hamas.

Hostages leave hospital: Some Israelis from the first wave of released hostages — members of two families — have been discharged from the Schneider Children’s Medical Hospital in Israel, it announced Sunday. They are the first former hostages to be discharged.

Palestinians killed in West Bank: Eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank over the course of 24 hours, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement Sunday. CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces for comment about the killings.

This post has been updated with the latest on the freed hostages and talks to potentially extend the truce.

5:06 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Efforts are underway to return hostages held by other groups in Gaza, US national security adviser says

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

There are efforts to return hostages held in Gaza by groups other than Hamas, a top US official said Sunday.

“We also are aware that it’s not just Hamas holding hostages. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group that participated in the brutal massacre on October 7, is holding some — and other groups who are not directly affiliated but have loose connections to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas are also holding hostages,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. 

“Part of the effort here is to ensure all of these groups somehow get connected to a deal in which every last possible hostage in Gaza who is still alive gets turned back over and reunited with their families.”

Implementation is currently underway to return at least 50 women and children through a negotiated deal with Hamas, which continued with the release of 17 hostages hours after Sullivan's interview.

Sullivan also spoke to CNN Sunday morning.

4:20 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Israel's war cabinet has discussed the possibility of extending the Gaza truce, source says

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins in Tel Aviv

Israel’s war cabinet discussed the possibility of extending the temporary truce with Hamas when it met Sunday evening, an Israeli source told CNN.

The source said conditions for an extension remain unchanged from the original agreement, which means Hamas needs to release an additional 10 hostages for each additional day’s pause in the fighting.

Remember: Israel and Hamas reached a deal last week for a four-day pause in fighting and the release of at least 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza.

The deal involved hostages who were held captive by Hamas being released in exchange for a number of Palestinian women and children in Israeli jails. The truce, meanwhile, also allowed the entry of “a larger number of humanitarian convoys and relief aid." The first release of hostages and prisoners took place on Friday, with others taking place Saturday and Sunday.

3:43 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Hamas says it wants to extend 4-day truce

From CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman

Palestinians walk through destruction in Gaza City on November 24, as the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas took effect.
Palestinians walk through destruction in Gaza City on November 24, as the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas took effect. Mohammed Hajjar/AP

Hamas says it wants to extend its four-day truce with Israel, which has entered its third day and has now seen the release of three groups of Israeli hostages from Gaza and three groups of Palestinian prisoners and detainees from Israeli jails.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Hamas said it wants “to extend the truce after the four-day period ends, through serious efforts to increase the number of those released from imprisonment as stipulated in the humanitarian ceasefire agreement.”

Earlier this weekend, Qatar, which played a central role in mediating the agreement, said it too was hoping to extend the truce, which includes provision for an extension of one extra day for every ten hostages Hamas is ready to free.

"What we are hoping for is that the momentum that has carried from the releases … and from this agreement of four days will allow us to extend the truce beyond these four days, and therefore get into more serious discussions about the rest of the hostages," Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, told CNN on Saturday.

US President Joe Biden also expressed wanting to extend the pause in fighting during remarks Sunday.  

 

5:06 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Key US lawmaker not optimistic that Israel-Ukraine aid package can pass by the end of year

From CNN’s Morgan Rimmer

Rep. Mike Turner speaks during an interview in Washington, DC, on Monday, November 6.
Rep. Mike Turner speaks during an interview in Washington, DC, on Monday, November 6. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

There is some skepticism about whether the US Congress can pass a package that includes aid to Israel by the end of 2023.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Turner told NBC on Sunday that he is not optimistic about the prospects of Congress passing a large national security package that would include funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the US southern border.

“I think it’d be very difficult to get it done by the end of the year. And the impediment currently is the White House policy on the southern border,” he said, noting that the White House needs to accept immigration policy changes, rather than just an increase in funding.

Pressed on whether he would support placing conditions on aid to Israel aimed at lessening civilian casualties in Gaza, Turner said that this is already the policy of the US and Israel.

“I wouldn’t propose it, but I think it does accurately reflect US policy,” he said. “I think the White House has been clear, and I think US policy has been clear, of lessening the Palestinian casualties that are not Hamas.”

On Hamas and hospitals: Turner did say that he believes the US should release some of its intelligence on Hamas and their use of hospitals and other civilian buildings, after Israel has faced sharp criticism for targeting those sites.

“Palestinians are as much prisoners to Hamas in Gaza," he said. "Once Hamas won its election — however rigged it may have been — to take over Gaza, there’s never been another one. They are absolutely being pressed by Hamas itself.”

He added, “I think it is certainly beneficial to tell the story of what Hamas is, what it does.”

6:04 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

39 Palestinian teenagers released from Israeli prisons on third day of Israel-Hamas truce

From CNN's Kareem Khadder, Abeer Salman and Eyad Kourdi

A bus carrying Palestinian teenagers released from Israeli prisons arrived in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday evening local time.

Earlier, Israel’s Prison Service confirmed it had released 39 prisoners and detainees from a total of seven Israeli prisons (six in Israel and one in the occupied West Bank), as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas that also saw the militant group release hostages today.

The group released Sunday included boys aged 18 and younger; two are 15 years old, and one, the youngest released, is 14.

They were welcomed in Ramallah by hundreds of well-wishers, some waving Palestinian flags, others carrying the flag of Hamas. 

Some were detained without knowing their charge: Sixteen of those released were serving sentences, mostly for attacks on Israelis, according to information drawn from the Israeli Prison Service and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, a non-governmental organization advocating for prisoners’ rights.

The remaining 23 released had been held under administrative detention, a widely criticized practice in which a detainee is unaware of any charges against them, and their case is not subject to any legal process.

2:09 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

Some of the freed hostages went days with little food, their families say

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Tel Aviv

Freed Israeli hostage Keren Munder and her family endured days with only pita bread to eat during her captivity in Gaza, her cousin Merav Mor Raviv told journalists Sunday.

Munder and her mother each lost 12 or more pounds in weight due to the lack of regular nutrition, Mor Raviv said, adding, “They were eating — but not regularly.”

Their diet in captivity included a lot of rice and bread, she added. 

Munder, her mother and 9-year-old son were released Friday by Hamas

Adva Adar, granddaughter of 85-year-old Yafa Adar, who was also freed Friday, said her grandmother had also lost weight during her nearly 50 days in Gaza. 

Adar had kept track of the days as a hostage and was aware how long she had been a prisoner when she was released, her granddaughter said. 

“We were asked to let her share whatever she feels comfortable sharing, and not to ask a lot of questions, so she wouldn't feel obligated (to answer), or that it wouldn't be too much for her,” Adva Adar said of the instructions the family had received regarding her grandmother’s first days of freedom. 

Adar said her grandmother thought more of her family had been killed in the October 7 Hamas attacks, and only discovered they were alive when she was out of Hamas’ hands.  

Yafa Adar’s house was destroyed in the fighting on October 7, her granddaughter said. 

“Usually, you have your house where you raised your kids, you have your memories, your photo albums, you have your clothes. And she has nothing,” her granddaughter said. “And in her old age, she needs to start over.”
1:50 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

At least 120 aid trucks have entered Gaza through Rafah border Sunday, Egyptian official says

From Asmaa Khalil in Rafah, CNN's Kim Kelaita in Dubai, Sarah El Sirgany and Ibrahim Dahman in Cairo, and Eve Brennan in London

Young boys look at humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza on November 26. 
Young boys look at humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza on November 26.  Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

At least 120 trucks carrying aid have entered Gaza on Sunday, according to the Egyptian government.

Trucks carrying fuel and cooking gas headed toward northern Gaza in coordination with the United Nations and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Diaa Rashwan, chair of Egypt's government press office, said in a statement. 

Rashwan said the number of aid trucks will likely increase in the coming hours. 

The PRCS said in a statement that an aid convoy of 100 trucks was sent to Gaza City and northern areas of the strip, carrying food, water, relief items, first aid supplies and medicine. 

A freelance journalist working with CNN in Rafah, Egypt, also witnessed aid trucks continuing to enter the Rafah border from the Egyptian side on Sunday. 

Dozens of trucks that entered the crossing on Saturday were still being processed through the Israeli checkpoint as of Sunday afternoon local time, or they were still unloading on the Gaza side of the border crossing, an Egyptian border official told CNN.

The official added that about 129,000 liters of diesel and 80,000 liters of gas went through the Rafah border crossing from the Egyptian side of the border. 

Some background: While Sunday's exchange of Hamas hostages for Palestinian prisoners and detainees has already been completed, the Saturday exchange was delayed by Hamas over a dispute that centered largely on the issue of aid for Gaza.

Hamas said Israel was not holding up the terms of its agreement to supply aid to the besieged enclave, saying “less than half” of the expected aid trucks had entered northern Gaza.

The issue was eventually resolved through mediation by Qatar, Qatari officials said.

7:02 p.m. ET, November 26, 2023

A bus carrying 4 of the hostages freed today has arrived in Egypt

From CNN's Mostafa Salem and Tamar Michaelis

A bus carrying four of the hostages who were released by Hamas today has been seen arriving in Egypt via the Rafah crossing.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that Red Cross officials have transferred the group – three Thai nationals and a Russian-Israeli dual citizen – out of Gaza through the crossing.

The hostages released Friday and Saturday also went via the Rafah crossing, which has played a pivotal role in the efforts to get people out and aid in to Gaza, as it is the only entry or exit point not controlled by Israel.

Remember: There were 17 hostages released Sunday in total, with the others group made up of women and children with Israeli citizenship, according to the IDF.

Freed Israelis on the move: A separate group of 13 Israelis freed in Sunday's hostages release saw one airlifted by helicopter to a hospital, and the other 12 taken through the border fence directly from Gaza into Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

A CNN team witnessed the Israeli convoy of vehicles carrying the hostages drive by the area of Kibbutz Urim, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) inside Israel, en route to the airbase.

The army said that after an initial medical assessment, the hostages will be flown to hospitals in the Tel Aviv area, where they are expected to be reunited with their families.

This post has been updated with details about the citizenship of the two groups of hostages released Sunday.