With hours left to go before a truce in Gaza expires, international mediators worked to extend it in order to facilitate the release of militant-held hostages and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. The cease-fire has paused the deadliest fighting between Israel and Palestinians in decades.
Israel has agreed to extend the truce, which was originally set to expire on Monday, by one day for every 10 hostages freed, and Hamas is expected to release another group of hostages later Wednesday. Twelve hostages, including 10 Israelis, were released Tuesday, bringing the total number of people freed during the truce to 81.
Israel has vowed to resume the war in an effort to end Hamas' 16-year rule of Gaza, but it's facing mounting international pressure to extend the truce and to spare south Gaza a devastating ground offensive like the one that has demolished much of the north.
Hamas' ability to negotiate and implement the cease-fire suggests that Israel's air and ground campaigns have not seriously challenged the group's control of Gaza, despite killing thousands of Palestinians and driving three out of four people in the territory from their homes.
Roughly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza. About 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas.
— Mediators seek to extend the truce as Hamas' rule shows resilience
— U.S. tells Israel any ground campaign in southern Gaza must limit further civilian displacement
— The family of an infant hostage pleads for his release as truce winds down
— Freed Israeli hostage describes deteriorating conditions while being held by Hamas
— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war
Here’s what's happening in the war:
4-YEAR-OLD DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL AFTER 50 DAYS AS HOSTAGE
TEL AVIV — Four-year-old Abigail Edan was discharged from the hospital late on Tuesday night, following her release after more than 50 days as a hostage in Gaza, a spokesperson for Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikvah said.
The Israeli-American dual citizen was the first U.S. hostage to be released under the cease-fire. Abigail marked her fourth birthday in captivity.
Both of her parents were killed in the Hamas attack that started the war on Oct. 7. During the rampage, she ran to a neighbor’s home for shelter, and the Brodutch family took her in before militants took the family to Gaza.
Hagar Brodutch and her three children were also released on Sunday. President Joe Biden celebrated her release, telling reporters, “I wish I were there to hold her.”
MANILA WELCOMES RELEASE OF SECOND FILIPINO HOSTAGE
MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino-Israeli woman arrived in Israel after being released by Hamas Tuesday night as part of a group of 12 hostages, the president of the Philippines announced on social media early Wednesday.
Noralin Babadilla was the second of two Filipinos released from captivity in Gaza during the truce in the Israel-Hamas war. With her release, “all Filipinos affected by the war have been accounted for,” wrote President Ferdinand Marcos.
Babadilla, who lived in Israel and worked as a caregiver, was visiting friends in Kibbutz Nirim with her husband during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, the Israeli embassy in Manila said in a statement. Her husband, Gideon Babani, was killed during the attack, and Babadilla was taken hostage.
Marcos thanked Israel for facilitating Babadilla's release, and thanked Egypt and Qatar “for their crucial role in this process over the past several weeks.”
G7 URGES RELEASE OF ALL HOSTAGES AND FACILITATED DEPARTURE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS
WASHINGTON — The G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the U.S. as well as the High Representative of the European Union are calling for the unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and the facilitated departure of foreign nationals from Gaza, according to a statement released by the U.S. State Department.
The G7 also said it supports the further extension of the current pause in fighting.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to work with all partners in the region to prevent the conflict from escalating further,” the statement said.
SEVERAL TONS OF MEDICAL ITEMS AND FOOD FOR GAZA FLOWN INTO EGYPT
WASHINGTON — White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the U.S. has airlifted over 54,000 pounds of Gaza-bound medical items and food aid to a staging area in Egypt.
Two more airlifts are planned in the coming days, Sullivan said. Since Oct. 21, more than 2,000 trucks have delivered aid to Gaza, he said.