The war between Israel and Hamas continues for the 46th day. It began on the morning of October 7 with massive rocket attacks by terrorists from the Gaza Strip, the entry of militants of the armed group Hamas (recognized as a terrorist organization in the US and the EU) and Islamic Jihad into the country and the taking of hostages. In response, Israel began launching massive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, and late in the evening of October 27, large forces entered the northern part of the strip.
As a result of the war in Israel, 1,200 people have been killed since October 7, and 240 people are being held hostage by Hamas militants. Previously it was reported about 1,400 dead; later the Israeli authorities updated the information. Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry said more than 13,000 people were killed on the Palestinian side, but the figures could not be independently verified.
How Israel responds
The Israeli military took control of the command post of one of the main battalions of the Hamas armed group, Zeitoun, and its central headquarters, according to the telegram channel of the Israel Defense Forces.
“Members of the 188th Brigade took operational control of several key facilities of the Zeitoun battalion, including the brigade commander’s command center in Gaza City and the battalion’s central headquarters,” the statement said. As a result, the point was destroyed.
The IDF also reported carrying out an airstrike in the Zeitoun area in southern Gaza and killing terrorists. In addition, fighters from the Bislamah Brigade destroyed Hamas military installations in the area, including heavy and long-range missiles.
In addition, the Israel Defense Forces commented on Palestinian statements about the attack on the Indonesian hospital in Gaza, announcing that its fighters were fired from this hospital, and they fired back, but only with small arms.
“This night, terrorists opened fire from inside the Indonesian hospital in Gaza at military personnel operating outside the hospital. IDF soldiers returned fire at a specific source of enemy fire. No shells were fired towards the hospital,” the IDF said in a statement.
The IDF press service once again assured that, despite the fact that its enemy is shooting from hospitals, the army is trying to comply with international norms and “has taken many measures to minimize the harm caused to non-combatants.”
The director of an Indonesian hospital said on November 20 that an airstrike had been carried out on its premises, killing at least 10 people. According to the World Health Organization, the attack killed 12 people, some of them hospital patients. reported head of the organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Dozens of people, he said, were injured.
What is known about a possible deal: a ceasefire to free the hostages
US President Joe Biden said he believes an agreement to release some hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip is close to being reached. The President stated this while talking with reporters at the White House. Biden was extremely taciturn. Asked by the media if an agreement was imminent, he crossed his fingers and said: “I think so.”
One of the leaders of Hamas, the head of the armed group’s Politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, confirmed that the militants are close to concluding a truce agreement with Israel. “We are close to reaching a ceasefire agreement,” the statement said, obtained by Reuters. The details of the deal are not specified.
Qatari officials will announce details of the agreement on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages captured by militants within a few hours, Izzat al-Reshik, a member of the politburo of the armed group Hamas, later said on Al Jazeera. “The expected agreement will include the release of Israeli women and child hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian children and women held in occupation prisons,” he said.
Reuters reported last week that Qatari mediators were trying to negotiate with Israel and Hamas to exchange 50 hostages for a three-day ceasefire that would help boost emergency aid supplies to Gazans.
AFP reported, citing sources familiar with the talks, that the agreement could include a five-day truce consisting of a ceasefire on the ground and restrictions on Israeli air operations over the southern Gaza Strip. In exchange, 50 to 100 people captured by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants will be released. According to the deal, about 300 Palestinians will be released from Israeli prisons.
About the hostage situation
After meeting with the families of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas militants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed his commitment to their release, calling it a “sacred and supreme mission.”
“I listened to the pain of the families. We had a heart-to-heart talk. I shared with them everything I could: I talked about the diplomatic, intelligence and operational efforts that we are conducting around the clock,” the prime minister said, adding that he thinks about the hostages “all the time.”
“We will not stop fighting until we bring our hostages home, destroy Hamas and ensure the end of the threat from Gaza,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier it was reported that several family members of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas militants left a meeting with the Israeli prime minister, unhappy, they said, with mixed messages they received from the government about the goals of the war in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that the head of the organization, Mirjana Spoljaric, met in Qatar with the chairman of the Politburo of the armed group Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and separately with representatives of the Qatari authorities.
The ICRC statement said that Spoljaric discussed with interlocutors “humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.” The ICRC specifically recalls that it constantly calls for the release of hostages and seeks that its staff be allowed to see the hostages taken by militants on October 7.
Evacuation from the Gaza Strip
A group of eight people evacuated from the Gaza Strip arrived in Cairo, TASS reports with reference to the operational headquarters of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in the city. Six of the evacuees are Russian citizens, two more are Palestinians. They crossed the border with Egypt through the Rafah checkpoint, where they were met by department officials. All evacuees are members of two families.
Russians are being transported from the Gaza Strip through Egypt on Emergency Situations Ministry planes that are on duty in Cairo. On November 20, the fifth group of evacuees from the enclave, consisting of 117 people, arrived in Moscow.
The US State Department, in turn, reported on its citizens and their loved ones in the Gaza Strip: 800 people were evacuated, 1,200 still remain there. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters about this: according to him, there are still 1,200 US citizens, holders of American residence permits, and their relatives in the Gaza Strip.
According to Miller, six American citizens have died in Israel and Gaza since October 7. All of them, judging by information from the State Department, were Israelis with a second American citizenship: five of the dead were Israeli army soldiers, one was a border guard.
On the creation of a Palestinian state
EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said the creation of a Palestinian state would be the best way to ensure Israel’s security.
Borrell held a video meeting on November 20 with the foreign ministers of the 27 EU countries after traveling through the Middle East to negotiate Israel’s war with Hamas.
The EU’s top diplomat says he has drawn a “fundamental political lesson” from his discussions in the region. “I think the best guarantee for Israel’s security is the creation of a Palestinian state,” Borrell said in a written report on the EU meeting.
The head of EU diplomacy insists that Israel should not occupy Gaza after the end of the current conflict and that control of the territory should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority.