Israel-Hamas war live: no ceasefire or hostage release before Friday, Israeli and US officials say | Israel-Hamas war

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Hostage and ceasefire deal won’t be implemented before Friday, US and Israel say

A long-awaited hostage and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas won’t take effect before Friday, US and Israeli officials have said, dashing the hopes of families who thought captives may be freed earlier and prolonging the suffering of Palestinians under bombardment in Gaza.

“The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,” Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement. “The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday.”

Multiple news outlets later cited anonymous Israeli officials as saying that the halt in fighting would not begin on Thursday either, as had been widely expected.

Families and supporters of those taken hostage by Hamas demanded their immediate release at a protest in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Families and supporters of those taken hostage by Hamas demanded their immediate release at a protest in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Photograph: Shir Torem/Reuters

White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson later said final logistical details for the release were being worked out. “That is on track and we are hopeful that implementation will begin on Friday morning,” Watson said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the delay. The deal had been expected to come into force from Thursday. An Egyptian security source told Reuters that mediators had sought a start time of 10am.

Here’s our full report on the deal:

Key events

Spain’s foreign minister José Manuel Albares on Thursday said his country is in favour of the recognition of a viable Palestinian state “in the very short term”.

The existence of a Palestinian state “will be the best guarantee for peace in the Middle East,” Reuters reports he said in an interview with Spanish radio station RNE.

Director of al-Shifa hospital detained by Israel – reports

There are reports that the director of the al-Shifa hospital has been detained by Israeli forces.

Haaretz reports an IDF source has told it Mohammad Abu Salmiya was arrested while in the humanitarian corridor heading to the southern Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera quotes Khalid Abu Samra, a chief of department at the hospital, saying “Mohammad Abu Salmiya was arrested along with several other senior doctors.”

Al Jazeera reports the Israeli Broadcasting Authority has also confirmed the arrest.

More details soon …

AFP has a little more detail on the raids being carried out in Germany in four regions on the homes of members and supporters of Hamas and another Palestinian organisation – Samidoun – which are banned in the country.

The interior ministry said 15 properties had been raided so far since 6am after courts in four regions ordered the raids. Germany on November 2 banned Hamas and Samidoun. There are an estimated 450 Hamas members in the country, according to official figures.

The ministry said that while Hamas members had not staged “violent action” in Germany so far, they had tried to raise funds to help the group overseas and “influence the social and political discourse in Germany”.

It claimed Samidoun on the other hand was “prone to use violence … and denies the right of Israel to exist”.

The US says it has downed drones in the Red Sea that had been launched from Yemen.

On the morning (Yemen time) of November 23, the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) shot down multiple one-way attack drones launched from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen. The drones were shot down while the U.S. warship was on patrol in the Red Sea. The ship and crew sustained no…

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 23, 2023

Yemen’s Houthis have vowed to continue targeting Israel and what it deems Israeli assets. On Monday Houthi rebels said they had seized what they called an Israeli cargo ship in the Red Sea, and warned that all vessels linked to Israel “will become a legitimate target for armed forces”.

Israel’s military spokesperson Danial Hagari has said the IDF has again attacked targets inside Lebanon.

He wrote: “IDF aircraft spotted and attacked an anti-tank squad … At the same time, the IDF force attacked the squad with artillery. Following the warnings in the northern part of the country, a number of launches were detected from Lebanese territory towards Israeli territory.”

The claims have not been independently verified.

There had been indications yesterday that while it was not a direct part of the Israel-Hamas deal, Hezbollah would respect a truce period on the northern boundary between Israel and Lebanon if Israel did. There have been daily exchanges of fire over the UN-drawn blue line that separates the two countries since the 7 October Hamas attack inside Israel.

Al Jazeera reports that Munir al-Bursh, the director-general of Gaza’s health ministry, has said Israel has given four hour’s notice to evacuate the Indonesian hospital.

The claims have not been independently verified.

As part of his visit to Israel, the UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, has been taken to kibbutz Be’eri, one of the sites attacked by Hamas on 7 October in an assault that one of the survivors described as a “pogrom”.

The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, and the Israeli foreign minister, Eli Cohen, visit kibbutz Be’eri on 23 November.
The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, and the Israeli foreign minister, Eli Cohen, visit kibbutz Be’eri on 23 November. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
British foreign secretary David Cameron walks inside a damaged building during his visit to kibbutz Be’eri.
The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, walks inside a damaged building during his visit to kibbutz Be’eri. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

UK foreign secretary David Cameron to visit Israel and Palestine on Thursday

The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, is due to visit the Middle East on Thursday and meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement, Reuters reports.

The former prime minister was appointed to the foreign policy brief last week by Rishi Sunak after he moved James Cleverly to the Home Office following the sacking of Suella Braverman for her criticisms of the way London’s police were handling pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Cameron met counterparts from Arab and Islamic countries in London on Wednesday to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict. In a briefing, the group – from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria and Palestine – said western powers on the UN security council face a choice of either demanding Israel lift its stranglehold on humanitarian aid into Gaza or being complicit in Israeli war crimes and collective punishment.

In case you missed it earlier, here’s an excerpt from an analysis by our world affairs editor, Julian Borger, and our correspondents Jason Burke and Ruth Michaelson on how the hostage and truce deal was reached:

The first sign that Hamas was interested in a hostage deal came only a few days after its 7 October attack in which its gunmen killed 1,200 Israelis and took about 240 captive. The government in Qatar approached the White House to convey Hamas’s interest in negotiations, and suggested that a dedicated cell be set up involving a handful of US, Qatari and Israeli representatives, according to senior US officials.

Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, designated his Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, and Josh Geltzer, the deputy White House counsel, to set up the cell, which was kept secret from the rest of the administration on Israeli and Qatari insistence.

Biden and his team were focused in particular on 10 US nationals who had not been accounted for and were presumed to be among the hostages. On 13 October, the US president held a Zoom call with their families. A senior administration official said colleagues on the call described it as “one of the most gut-wrenching things they’ve experienced in their time here”.

When Biden visited Israel five days later, he met the families of hostages in person, and their release was a main focus of his face-to-face meeting with Netanyahu, according to US officials. Three Americans were included in the final deal on Wednesday.

Alongside Biden’s personal commitment, the White House came to see the hostage issue as the most likely route to persuading the Israeli government to ease its onslaught on Gaza, which had flattened entire residential districts and killed thousands of Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli military (IDF) says it struck more than 300 “Hamas terror targets” in total over the past day.

In a Telegram post the IDF said it had struck “military command centres, underground terror tunnels, weapon storage facilities, weapon manufacturing sites and anti-tank missile posts”.

It also said Israeli forces were currently striking Jabiliya in northern Gaza, where dozens of people were reported killed on Wednesday.

As we reported earlier, about 50 of the victims in Jabiliya on Wednesday were from the same family, according to Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister.

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