Hamas frees 2 American hostages « Khabarhub
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Hamas frees 2 American hostages


21 October 2023  

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ISRAEL: Hamas released two American hostages Friday, a mother and her teenage daughter, who had been held in Gaza since Hamas’ cross-border attack two weeks ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “not giving up on the effort to return all abducted and missing people. … At the same time, we’ll continue to fight until victory.”

Israel said Friday it plans to evacuate Kiryat Shmona residents to state-funded guest houses. The city is near Israel’s border with Lebanon where there have been repeated rocket and missile attacks.

The death toll from the hospital strike in Gaza is now reported to be on the lower end of 100-300 people.

More than 1,400 Israelis, 4,100 Palestinians have been killed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would “fight until victory” in Gaza, signaling there would be no pause in Israel’s bombing of the area or an expected invasion there despite Hamas’ release of two U.S. hostages.

“Two of our abductees are at home. We are not giving up on the effort to return all abducted and missing people,” Netanyahu said in a statement released Friday night.

“At the same time, we’ll continue to fight until victory,” he said.

His remarks came hours after two Americans, a mother and daughter from the Chicago area who also hold Israel citizenship, were released by Hamas. They were the first of what Israel says is more than 200 hostages held by the militant group in Gaza to be freed.

Reporters asked U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday as he was walking up the stairs to board Air Force One whether Israel should delay an invasion of Gaza until more hostages can be freed. Biden replied, “Yes,” but the White House said shortly afterward that Biden did not fully hear the question.

White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt said Biden was far away when the question was asked.

“The question sounded like ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else,” LaBolt said.

Earlier Friday, Biden said he believed Hamas was motivated to attack Israel partly because the militant group wants to stop Israel from normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia.
Biden told a campaign fundraiser in Washington on Friday that Hamas “knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis.”

The United States had been working toward bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia together to establish diplomatic relations following U.S. efforts in 2020 that succeeded in getting the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to recognize Israel.

Meanwhile early Saturday, Israeli planes bombed six homes in Gaza, killing at least eight Palestinians and injuring 45, Palestinian media said. According to the United Nations, 140,000 homes in Gaza have been damaged, which amounts to nearly a third of all homes in the territory. It says nearly 13,000 homes have been destroyed.

In Egypt, an official told The Associated Press that two trucks filled with aid entered the Egyptian side of the border crossing with Gaza early Saturday but said they have not passed through into the Gaza Strip.

Israel said Wednesday that that aid would be allowed into Gaza from Egypt, but the border has remained closed. Egypt says the crossing has been damaged by Israeli air strikes.

Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip on Friday night with airstrikes, amid warnings that Israeli forces could invade the Hamas-ruled territory at any time.

The Israel Defense Forces posted Friday on X, formerly known as Twitter: “During the night, fighter jets attacked over a hundred operational targets of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying tunnel shafts, munitions warehouses and dozens of operational headquarters.”

In other developments, Israel is planning to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona. Authorities said Friday that the residents will be placed in state-funded guest houses. The northern city is near Israel’s border with Lebanon and has been subjected to numerous rocket and missile attacks from Palestinian militant groups.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak traveled Friday to Egypt, his latest Middle Eastern destination, as the conflict continues to grow. Sunak has already met with Israeli leaders and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Sunak followed Biden with a visit to Israel to demonstrate Western support for the war against Hamas militants.

“You have suffered an unspeakable, horrific act of terrorism, and I want you to know that the United Kingdom and I stand with you,” Sunak said. Later, he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “We will stand with your people. And we also want you to win.”

Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told hundreds of thousands of the country’s ground troops to get ready to invade the Gaza Strip.

Gallant met with Israeli infantry soldiers positioned on the Gaza border, telling the forces to “get organized, be ready,” but did not say when the order would come for the invasion.

“Whoever sees Gaza from afar now, will see it from the inside,” he said. “I promise you.”

Israel has amassed 300,000 or more troops along the border following Hamas’ cross-border Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

Biden said after his brief visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he had candid discussions with Israeli leaders as they conduct military strikes that have taken more than 3,400 lives in Gaza, many of them civilians.

“I was very blunt with the Israelis,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One. Biden said that while Israel “has been badly victimized,” the country has “an opportunity to relieve the suffering” of innocent civilians in Gaza “who have nowhere to go.”

VOA

Publish Date : 21 October 2023 14:30 PM

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