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Israel-Hamas war live updates: No hostage releases expected before Friday; more details of deal emerge

Gaza health ministry to no longer coordinate with the WHO until detainees released, Hamas says

The Ministry of Health affiliated with Hamas will stop coordinating with the World Health Organization on evacuations until the international agency submits a report on recent Israeli detainments of medical personnel and the aforementioned staff are released, Hamas said in a Google-translated Telegram update.

This comes after a medical convoy that evacuated 190 people from the Al-Shifa hospital was held up and inspected by Israeli forces at a checkpoint, leading to the detainment of medical staff. Dr. Muhammad Abu Salamiya, head of Al-Shifa, was reportedly detained.

The Gaza Health Ministry says it has yet to receive a report from the WHO on the incident and the number of medical personnel affected.

Ruxandra Iordache

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron visits Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel

Recently-appointed British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made a visit to southern Israel Thursday, where he observed damage at Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the communities ravaged by the Hamas terror attack of Oct. 7.

Cameron was accompanied by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen. In a post on social media platform X, the former British prime minister wrote: “I wanted to come here to see it for myself; I have heard and seen things I will never forget.”

He added: “Today is also a day where we hope to see progress on the humanitarian pause. This is a crucial opportunity to get hostages out and aid in to Gaza, to help Palestinian civilians who are facing a growing humanitarian crisis.”

Cameron is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly, according to Sky News.

— Natasha Turak

Gaza Health Ministry says it’s stopping coordination with WHO

The Gaza Ministry of Health holds the United Nations responsible for Israel’s attacks on the Al-Shifa hospital, its spokesperson, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, said Thursday.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Arabic, Al-Qudra said the ministry holds the United Nations responsible “for the attack on patients and medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital.”

“We decided to stop coordination with the World Health Organization in evacuating the wounded and medical personnel,” he added, according to a translation by NBC News.

It comes after weeks of Israeli bombardment targeting Al-Shifa, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. Israel says Hamas used the hospital as a military base, and claims to have found evidence proving this. CNBC has not been able to verify the reports, and the WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United Nations and its health agency, the World Health Organization, have been involved in evacuations from the hospital, including the high-profile case of 31 at-risk babies. They have also strongly criticized the military targeting of the medical facility and described it as a “death zone” in an update earlier this week.

— Katrina Bishop

IDF arrests director of Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza health ministry says

Israeli forces arrested the head of Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, health authorities in the besieged enclave confirmed to NBC News.

“The occupation army arrested Dr. Muhammad Abu Salamiya, Director General of Al-Shifa Medical Complex, while he was moving with the wounded on Salah Al-Din Street,” said a spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, a department in the Hamas-controlled government.

He added that the health ministry does not know how many other people were arrested.

Hamas, on its official Telegram channel, rebuked the arrest.

“We strongly condemn the arrest of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital and his fellow doctors, and we call on the Red Cross and international organizations to work for their immediate release,” its post said.

The Al-Shifa hospital complex is the largest in the Gaza Strip, and has endured weeks of heavy shelling amid Israel’s ground offensive in northern Gaza. Humanitarian groups, the International Red Cross and World Health Organization have all condemned Israel’s attacks on the hospital, which still houses many patients.

Israel says the hospital is being used as a terror base by Hamas.

— Natasha Turak

Cease-fire start time to be announced ‘within hours,’ Qatar says

Details will be announced shortly on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that will allow the release of hostages will be announced, according to deal mediator Qatar.

Talks on “the details of the implementation plan for the humanitarian pause deal in Gaza between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) are continuing and progressing positively,” said Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to a statement.

“Dr. Al Ansari affirmed that the start of the pause agreed upon will be announced within the next few hours,” the ministry added.

Qatar, along with the U.S. and Egypt, helped mediate negotiations to secure a four-day cease-fire and the return of 50 captives from each side of the conflict.

The start of the cease-fire remains unknown, however, with Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser, saying Wednesday that it had been delayed until at least Friday.

— Katrina Bishop

Qatari diplomat lays out further details of hostage release deal

Qatar’s lead negotiator in the Israel-Hamas hostage release talks, Mohammed al-Khulaifi, has laid out further details of the agreement.

His country, alongside Egypt and the U.S., mediated the negotiations that have now secured a limited four-day cease-fire and the return of 50 captives from each side of the conflict. The releases are expected to be mostly women and children and will be spread out in batches across each truce day, al-Khulaifi said in a TV interview with CNN.

“So we managed to get the parties to agree on the releases systematically. In other words, there will be an organized schedule allowing the releases each day, and each party is quite familiar now with their obligations,” he said, adding that a “minimum of 10” hostages will be released on the first day of the truce.

“This agreement specifically focuses on civilian women and children in each side, on both sides. And we hope that within the four days, we will be able to complete the release of women and children in both sides, moving to the safe side, away from this war,” he added.

The diplomat dismissed the possibility of Hamas using the pause in fighting to elude its commitments, saying: “The obligation on Hamas on the first day is very clear: they need to provide us with that list. They’ve been granted that period of calm … that will provide them with room to provide us with that commitment.”

In addition to the hostage releases, the deal will also benefit humanitarian aid, al-Khulaifi said — including now expanding the permitted use of fuel resources. Previously, the Israeli military only allowed U.N. vehicles to use fuel for transporting and distributing supplies, and fueling basic services to restrict the possibility of a pandemic.

“Now we’ve managed to secure fuel being provided for a vital infrastructure, such as hospitals and others,” al-Khulaifi said.

Ruxandra Iordache

U.S. warship shoots down Houthi drones in the Red Sea

A U.S. vessel on patrol in the Red Sea shot down several attack drones launched from areas controlled by Yemen’s Houthi, the U.S. Central Command said on social media.

“The drones were shot down while the U.S. warship was on patrol in the Red Sea. The ship and crew sustained no damage or injury,” it added.

CENTCOM identified the vessel as the USS Thomas Hudner.

CNBC could not independently confirm developments on the ground.

Houthi militants have increased their activity in the Red Sea since the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, hijacking the Galaxy Leader cargo ship over the weekend on suspicion of association with Israel. The ship is operated by a Japanese business and was not served by Israeli crew at the time of its capture.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli military expects aid groups to acknowledge findings at Al-Shifa

The Israeli military is waiting for healthcare and human rights groups to acknowledge the validity of its armed operations in the Al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip, following the release of footage that appears to show tunnels on the premises, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said.

The IDF has repeatedly claimed it stormed the Al-Shifa hospital and other civilian sites because it believed Hamas had repurposed the locations as command posts. Israel says Al-Shifa contained entrances to a spiderweb of tunnels used for transport, shelter and weapons storage by the Palestinian militant group.

Facing international criticism to prove its claims, the IDF released multiple clips that appear to show tunnels and weapons discovered at Al-Shifa since its campaign.

CNBC was not able to independently verify the footage.

“Ever since we shared this information, this footage, I’m waiting for organizations to come clean,” the IDF’s Jonathan Conricus told CNN in a TV interview. “I’m waiting for the World Health Organization, the Palestinian Red Crescent, for [U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palesitne], and for many other organizations that were fast to criticize us for our military operations, I’m waiting for them to say, ‘Yes, IDF you were right, we were wrong, Hamas has been using hospitals in violation of humanitarian law, and they should be condemned for it.'”

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel’s national security adviser says hostage release will not take place before Friday

Israeli National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement on Wednesday that the release of hostages from Gaza will not take place before Friday.

“The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,” the statement said according to a translation by NBC News.

“The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday,” Hanegbi said in the statement.

Hanegbi did not provide an explanation for the delay.

Israel and Hamas agreed to exchange 50 of Hamas’ hostages for a number of Israel’s Palestinian prisoners. Officials noted that no releases could begin until at least 24 hours after the deal had been approved by the Israeli government, which happened just after 3 a.m. on Wednesday in Jerusalem. The 24-hour window is to allow for families of the victims of the prisoners to appeal their release to the Israeli Supreme Court.

To ensure the safe passage of the hostages, Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day pause in fighting. A senior Hamas official told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that temporary cease-fire would begin Thursday morning, although the timing wasn’t immediately clear.

Rebecca Picciotto

Gaza ‘most dangerous place in the world to be a child,’ UNICEF says

Editor’s note: The following post contains photographs with graphic content.

Injured children are seen as a result of the attacks of the Israeli army at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 22, 2023 (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

The Gaza Strip is the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child,” the head of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Wednesday.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell told the U.N. Security Council that more than 5,300 Palestinian children had reportedly been killed since Oct. 7 – when Palestinian militants of Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking hostages, most of them civilians.

Israel has focused its retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, a territory of 2.3 million people.

“The true cost of this latest war in Palestine and Israel will be measured in children’s lives – those lost to the violence and those forever changed by it. Without an end to the fighting and full humanitarian access, the cost will continue to grow exponentially,” Russell, who last week visited Gaza, said at a council briefing on women and children there.

Israel agreed on Wednesday to a ceasefire with Hamas for four days to let in humanitarian aid and free at least 50 hostages held by militants in exchange for at least 150 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

“Women in Gaza have told us that they pray for peace, but that if peace does not come, they pray for a quick death, in their sleep, with their children in their arms. It should shame us all that any mother, anywhere, has such a prayer,” U.N. Women Executive Director Sima Bahous told the 15-member council.

(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) An injured children are seen as a result of the attacks of the Israeli army at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 22, 2023 (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

A wounded Palestinian child from the Jabalia refugee camp sits on a bed after being transferred from the Indonesian Hospital in the north to the Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis, on November 21, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Mohammed Abed | AFP | Getty Images

The Gaza Strip is the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child,” the head of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Wednesday.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell told the U.N. Security Council that more than 5,300 Palestinian children had reportedly been killed since Oct. 7 – when Palestinian militants of Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking hostages, most of them civilians.



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