The war between Israel and Hamas continues for the 54th 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. Earlier it was reported about 1,400 dead, but later the Israeli authorities updated the information. Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry said about 15,000 people were killed on the Palestinian side, but this figure could not be independently confirmed.
Release of the fifth batch of hostages
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released a statement on the evening of November 28 saying that 12 hostages – 10 Israeli citizens and two Thai citizens – had returned to Israeli territory.
Among them is 84-year-old Ditza Hayman, one of the founders of Kibbutz Nir Oz. She is the oldest of the hostages released in the November 28 exchange. During the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, neighbors saw her being taken away by gunmen. Ditza Hyman was a former social worker, and her late husband, Zvi Shdaimach, was a Holocaust survivor. After the death of her husband, the woman lived alone.
Qatar said Israeli authorities released 30 Palestinians – 15 women and 15 minors – in exchange for handing over 12 hostages to the Red Cross. The Red Cross has confirmed that Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli prisons have already reached Ramallah in the West Bank.
Israel and Hamas agree on lists for new exchange
The Israeli government has announced that it has already received a list of hostages that Hamas is expected to release on November 29. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said relatives of those scheduled to be released have already been informed. There are no further details in the statement.
Over the course of five days, the Hamas armed group released 81 hostages: 60 Israelis under a temporary ceasefire agreement and another 21 under separate agreements. 19 of these latter are Thai citizens.
Israel responded by releasing 180 Palestinian women and teenagers from prison.
Five Palestinian factions took part in the attack on Israel
In addition to Hamas, at least five other Palestinian groups took part in the attack on Israel. Their joint exercises have been taking place since 2020, the BBC Arabic Service and BBC Verify found out. Journalists studied the photos and videos that the terrorists posted on social networks. According to these materials, three years ago the armed group Hamas began training along with ten other Palestinian groups. Journalists identified them by their headbands and emblems.
During these exercises, militants practiced taking hostages, attacking buildings, and breaking through enemy defenses. One of the training sites, which was a mock-up of an Israeli military base, was located just 800 meters from the wall separating the Gaza Strip and Israel, the authors of the material write. Hamas conducted its last joint exercise on September 12, 2023, less than four weeks before the attack on kibbutzim in southern Israel.
The investigation notes that after the October 7 attack on Israel, five groups published videos saying they took part in the attack. Three other groups posted written statements on Telegram about their participation in the attack.
Three groups – Islamic Jihad, Mujahideen Brigades and Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades – said they, like Hamas, took prisoners on October 7. “Efforts to extend the temporary truce in Gaza are believed to depend on Hamas finding these hostages,” the journalists wrote.
Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari previously said that the exact number of hostages taken to Gaza is still unknown. According to early IDF estimates, 1,500 fighters from other factions joined Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack. According to The Times of Israel, this number could be twice as high. Earlier, Reuters wrote that Hamas had been secretly preparing an attack on Israel for two years and that the militants were training, including at a site in Gaza that simulated an Israeli settlement.
Reaction of the world community
The G7 foreign ministers called for an extension of the truce in Gaza and the immediate release of all hostages. At the beginning of the joint statement adopted at the meeting in Washington, the foreign ministers of the G7 countries specifically note that they recognize Israel’s right to self-defense.
“We support the further extension of this pause and future pauses necessary to increase aid supplies and ensure the release of all hostages,” the statement continued.
G7 ministers called for “every effort to provide humanitarian support to the civilian population, including supplies of food, water, fuel and medicine.”
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Israel to liberate the occupied Golan Heights. 91 countries voted for the document, including Russia, Brazil, India, China, eight countries voted against the document, including the USA and Great Britain, and another 62 countries abstained. The co-authors of the resolution were Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, the UAE, Syria and others.
The Golan Heights were part of Syria before the 1967 war. During the course of the war, Israel gained control of the area and subsequently passed legislation that legally incorporated the Golan into the Jewish state. The UN Security Council condemned this move. Syria still considers the Golan Heights to be its territory.
Elon Musk and the Hamas invitation
Elon Musk visited Israel on November 28, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. Musk agreed with the Israeli Prime Minister that there is “no other option” other than the destruction of the armed group Hamas.
In turn, Hamas militants invited him to visit Gaza so that Musk could see “the scale of the massacre and destruction.” In response to this, Elon Musk statedthat he is not yet ready to visit the Gaza Strip, because it is “a little dangerous there.”
“It seems a little dangerous now, but I believe that the long-term prosperity of Gaza will benefit all parties,” the businessman wrote.
A few weeks before his visit to Israel, Musk was accused of anti-Semitism after he supported a post by user X that said Jewish communities were “spreading hatred towards white people.” The businessman also accused the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism, of promoting “racism against white people.”
After that, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Apple and other companies have suspended advertising in X. Media Matters accused the businessman of supporting a “pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”