November 29, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Antoinette Radford, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023
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9:38 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Qatar "very optimistic" Israel-Hamas truce will be extended again, ministry spokesman tells CNN

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

Qatar is "very optimistic" an extension to the truce between Israel and Hamas will be announced in the coming hours, following the expected release of the sixth set of hostages, a foreign ministry spokesman told CNN.

International mediators have been pushing for an extension of the agreement as the truce between the warring sides entered its final day on Wednesday.

Speaking to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said: "We are hopeful that within in a couple of hours we will have the release of the final batch [of hostages] but also we will be able to announce an extension."

“We are very optimistic that we will have good news to share today," he added.

Saying that negotiations are ongoing, Al-Ansari added that any new extension would be under the same parameters of the previous agreements.

Qatar's Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed Al-Ansari, speaks to journalists during a press conference in Doha, Qatar, on November 23.
Qatar's Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed Al-Ansari, speaks to journalists during a press conference in Doha, Qatar, on November 23. Imad Creidi/Reuters

When pressed for details on the conditions and safety of the remaining hostages, Al-Ansari said negotiations were happening in a "positive environment" while pointing out "we are talking about a war zone with a lot of complications on the ground."

He also said that the release of adult males and Israel Defence Forces soldiers have been topics for discussion and they could be released in the near future.

“We have prioritized those who are most at risk within the hostages regarding women and children who taken paramount. We are moving towards civilian men being released and then having the longer discussions regarding [IDF] soldiers.”

9:12 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Talks underway to extend pause as another group of hostages is due to be released. Here’s the latest

From CNN Staff

Discussions are underway as negotiators are working toward another potential extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas. 

The current agreement has entered its sixth and potentially final day. Israel has also been given the names of another group of hostages due to be released Wednesday. This will be the second release in the extension of the truce.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on his way to the Middle East with a goal: to extend the pause in Israel's offensive in Gaza.

He said at a news conference Wednesday that the US wanted the pause "so that we continue to get more hostages out and more humanitarian assistance in."

“We'll discuss with Israel how it can achieve its objective of ensuring that the terrorist attacks of October 7 never happen again, while sustaining and increasing humanitarian assistance and minimizing further suffering and casualties among Palestinian civilians,” the top US diplomat said.

Blinken will attend meetings in Israel, the West Bank, and the United Arab Emirates. He will arrive in Israel as the truce brokered by the US, Qatar and Egypt is on the verge of expiring. Officials representing those countries are in consensus about working toward extending the pause, a source familiar with the matter said.

If you're just joining our coverage, here's the latest:

  • Disease spreads among Gazans: A lack of food, water, sanitation and basic hygiene in Gaza is resulting in the spread of disease, the Director-General of the World Health Organization said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the lack of functioning infrastructure or access to medicine had resulted in a growing number of infections among the approximately 1.3 million people displaced in Gaza.
  • Gazans grieve for killed relatives: A Gazan grandfather, Khaled Nabhan, returned to the place he used to call home with CNN. Toys and memories are all he has left of his beloved grandchildren, 3-year-old Reem and 5-year-old Tarek, who were killed last week while they slept in their bed. Their home was brought down by what Nabhan said was a nearby Israeli airstrike in the Al Nuseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza.
  • Baby not on hostage list: 10-month-old Kfir Bibas was not listed for release on Wednesday, his family told CNN. Kfir, his four-year-old brother Ariel, their mother Shiri and presumably their father Yarden were kidnapped on October 7. Kfir's family said they are "really, really worried" about their cousin.
  • Increased aid to Gaza: The Director of USAID, Samantha Power, told CNN that the increased aid deliveries in Gaza during the temporary truce should become "the new normal." Power estimated that 240 trucks per day have entered Gaza since the pause in fighting began on Friday.
  • Filipino hostage freed: A second Filipino hostage has been freed from Gaza, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr wrote on X. All Philippine nationals impacted by the Israel-Hamas war are now accounted for.
  • Terror threat in Germany: The risk of terrorist attacks in Germany "has risen significantly" after Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel, according to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). "The risk potential for possible terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli individuals and institutions as well as against 'the West' as a whole has increased significantly," according to a risk assessment published by the BfV, Germany's domestic intelligence service, on Wednesday.
7:39 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

US secretary of state says focus of next few days will be to extend truce in Gaza

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference following the Nato Foreign Ministers meeting on Ukraine at Nato Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on November 29.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference following the Nato Foreign Ministers meeting on Ukraine at Nato Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on November 29. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads back to the Middle East, he will be focused on extending the pause in Israel’s offensive in Gaza, "so that we continue to get more hostages out and more humanitarian assistance in," he said at a news conference in Brussels Wednesday.

Blinken will make his third trip to the region, with meetings in Israel, the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates in the coming days. He will arrive in Israel as the truce brokered by the US, Qatar and Egypt is on the verge of expiring.

“We'd like to see the pause extended because what it has enabled, first and foremost, is hostages being released and being united with their families,” Blinken said. “It's also enabled us to surge humanitarian assistance into the people of Gaza who so desperately need it. So, its continuation, by definition, means that more hostages would be coming home, more assistance would be getting in.”

“We'll discuss with Israel how it can achieve its objective of ensuring that the terrorist attacks of October 7 never happen again, while sustaining and increasing humanitarian assistance and minimizing further suffering and casualties among Palestinian civilians,” the top US diplomat said.

He said he would be focused, as in trips past, on ensuring the conflict does not spread, and on the “day after” for Gaza.

“Right now, everyone is focused on the day of what's happening in Gaza right now, but we also need to be focused at the same time — and we are in conversations with many other countries — on what I've called, both the day after and the day after the day after. By the day after I mean, what happens in Gaza once the campaign is over. There are important questions about its governance, its security, its reconstruction,” Blinken said, referencing the parameters he outlined in Japan weeks ago for governance of Gaza.

He described the “day after the day after” as “how do we get on a clear path to meeting the legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinian people, which, really, in our judgment, is the only way to durable peace and durable security for everyone, starting for Israel and Israelis."

“These are conversations that we'll pursue in the days ahead in the weeks ahead, in the months ahead,” he said.

6:53 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Grandfather takes CNN to Gaza home where his beloved granddaughter died in an airstrike

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, Florence Davey-Attlee and Abeer Salman

Khaled Nabhan in his home on November 27.
Khaled Nabhan in his home on November 27. CNN

For nearly seven weeks, most people in the Gaza Strip have been just trying to survive, focusing on the basics: finding shelter, fleeing the fighting, getting access to food and water.

The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas has given many families in Gaza the chance to go outside, buy supplies and return home to retrieve belongings or even bury the bodies of their loved ones.

For many Gazans like Khaled Nabhan, the truce has also deepened the heartache as they take stock of their new, devastated surroundings. The weeks of airstrikes and fighting have left entire neighborhoods leveled to the ground and many are now able to see the full scale of the devastation for the first time.

Toys and memories are all he has left of his beloved grandchildren, 3-year-old Reem and 5-year-old Tarek, who were killed last week while they were sleeping in their bed.

Their home was brought down by what Nabhan said was a nearby Israeli airstrike in the Al Nuseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza. Nabhan has only just managed to return, following the pause in fighting.

In the battered bedroom of their house in Gaza, Nabhan showed CNN where his daughter Maysa — Reem and Tarek’s mother — was sleeping when the house collapsed. Maysa and her sister survived but were seriously injured.

Maysa woke up in the hospital to the news her young children were gone. Their lifeless bodies were found together under the rubble.

“At the hospital I was just numb. I hugged them, I wanted to get as many hugs as I could. No matter how much I hugged them I didn’t get enough,” Maysa said.

More than 14,800 Palestinians, including 6,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive in response to the Hamas terror attacks of October 7, according to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank, which draws its data from Hamas-run health authorities in the Gaza Strip.

Read more about Nabhan's story here.

10:19 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Israel believes at least 161 hostages taken October 7 are still in Gaza, prime minister's office says

From CNN’s Lauren Izso in Tel Aviv

Israel now believes there are 161 hostages taken captive on October 7 who are still in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told CNN Wednesday.

Out of the 161 abductees, 146 are Israelis (some of whom are dual nationals) and 15 are foreigners. Additionally, 126 are male and 35 are female, according to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office.

Of those who remain kidnapped:

  • 4 are children under the age of 18
  • 4 at the age of 18-19
  • 10 at the age 75 and older

A total of 86 hostages have been released so far (66 of them Israeli): 

  • 60 Israelis as part of the agreement with Hamas, some of whom are dual nationals
  • 20 foreigners
  • 4 women released before the deal with Hamas

One soldier was rescued by IDF troops, and one Russian-Israeli citizen was released due to Russian intervention.

The remains of two abductees who were killed were located by IDF soldiers.

8:50 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Family of 10-month-old baby says he and his 4-year-old brother are not on Wednesday's release list

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Israeli hostage Kfir Bibas
Israeli hostage Kfir Bibas Hostages Missing Families Forum

Relatives of the Bibas family have been informed that no one from the family, including 10-month-old Kfir and 4-year-old Ariel, are on the list of hostages expected to be released Wednesday, a family member tells CNN.

Ten-month-old Kfir, his brother Ariel, their mother, Shiri, and presumably their father Yarden were kidnapped from kibbutz Nir Oz that was devastated when it came under attack by Hamas militants on October 7. 

A cousin of the family, Eylon Keshet, told CNN they were "really, really worried" about their 10-month-old cousin.

We are not sure if he can make it. Every day that he is staying there is a real, real danger to his life.”

Keshet and his family Wednesday issued a statement warning that the Bibas family held in Gaza is in “dire conditions” and asked US President Joe Biden to speak to the family members directly. 

“We demand the Red Cross to do its duty, fight for its right for access, provide immediate emergency health care and report about their status. We want to convey a message to president Biden: ‘Please! Speak with us and help us save their lives!!!’” said Keshet in the statement.
8:40 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Thousands of displaced Gazans at heightened risk of diseases, WHO director-general says

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder

An aerial view of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) tent camp in Khan Younis, Gaza on November 27.
An aerial view of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) tent camp in Khan Younis, Gaza on November 27. Ashraf Amra/Anadolu/Getty Images

Overcrowding and lack of food, water, sanitation and basic hygiene are hastening spread of disease in Gaza, according to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a post on X, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the lack of functioning infrastructure or access to medicine had resulted in a growing number of infections among the approximately 1.3 million people displaced in Gaza.

According to Ghebreyesus, more 110,000 people have acute respiratory infections, more than 70,000 have some level of diarrhea and thousands are plagued by other diseases including scabies, lice, skin rashes, impetigo, chickenpox and jaundice.

Tedros called for a continued ceasefire and warned that the current conditions in the strip heightened the risk of disease outbreaks. He also reiterated earlier comments from WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris that more people could potentially die from disease than bombardment if the health system isn't improved.

“We need a sustained ceasefire. NOW. It's a matter of life or death for civilians,” Tedros said. 
5:47 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

"Every day that he is staying there is a real, real danger to his life," says family of 10-month-old hostage

From CNN's Rhea Mogul

Protesters hold signs as they call for the immediate release of hostages, especially Shiri Bibas, 32, her husband Yarden Bibas, 34 and their children Kfir Bibas, 10 months, and Ariel, 4, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 28.
Protesters hold signs as they call for the immediate release of hostages, especially Shiri Bibas, 32, her husband Yarden Bibas, 34 and their children Kfir Bibas, 10 months, and Ariel, 4, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 28. Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

At 10-months-old, Kfir Bibas has now spent more than a fifth of his young life in captivity, his doe-eyed face and bright red hair a vivid symbol of the pain and suffering endured by Israel’s hostage families.

More than 50 days since his abduction by Hamas militants from their home in southern Israel, Kfir’s family say they are no closer to knowing whether he is safe – or even alive.

“We are really, really worried about him,” Eylon Keshet, a cousin of the family, told CNN, holding a photograph of the baby boy.

We are not sure if he can make it. Every day that he is staying there is a real, real danger to his life.”

Kfir, his four-year-old brother Ariel, their mother, Shiri, and presumably their father Yarden were all kidnapped from Nir Oz, an Israeli kibbutz that was devastated when it came under attack by Hamas militants on October 7.

The attackers murdered more than a quarter of the community and seized scores of others, as they fired at people’s homes, looted and destroyed what they could.

Read the full story here:

2:20 a.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Second Filipino hostage released from Gaza, Philippine president confirms

From CNN’s Jennifer Hauser and Manveena Suri

All Philippine nationals impacted by the Israel-Hamas war have been accounted for following the release of a second hostage, according to the country’s president.

“With this positive development, I am pleased to inform the nation that all Filipinos affected by the war have been accounted for,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr wrote in a post on X Wednesday.

“Just days after expressing concern for Noralyn Babadilla's whereabouts, I am very happy to announce that Noralyn is safely back in Israel, becoming the second Filipino released from Gaza,” he wrote.

The Embassy of the Philippines will “attend to her needs in coordination with Israeli authorities," the president added.

He also thanked Israeli authorities for “facilitating Noralyn's release, and for all ongoing assistance to Filipinos in Israel.”

“Our gratitude also goes to Egypt and the State of Qatar for their crucial role in this process over the past several weeks." 

Babadilla's release follows that of Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, who had been working as a caregiver in Israel and was taken hostage by Hamas militants from a kibbutz on October 7. Pacheco was released on Friday.