NewsIsraeli forces withdraw, Palestinians confirm

Israeli forces withdraw, Palestinians confirm

Israel takes a step back in the Gaza Strip.
Israel takes a step back in the Gaza Strip.
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
ed. TWA
9:36 AM EST, November 25, 2023

Israeli forces have vacated the Al-Shifa hospital, according to Palestinian authorities. Along with this withdrawal, on Friday, the Palestinian group Hamas released the initial hostages taken during an October assault. In a reciprocal gesture, Israel freed a group of Palestinians who had been serving sentences in their correctional facilities.

As per UN data, the hospital housed nearly 2300 patients, injured individuals, caregivers, and displaced persons on the initial day of the Israeli assault. Following some evacuations, "approximately 100 patients and caregivers still remain in Al-Shifa," stated Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The primary generator, numerous buildings, sidewalks, and walls" in the hospital have suffered destruction, notified Aszraf Al-Kudra, a spokesperson for the Gaza Strip's health ministry.

Lindmeier communicated further evacuations are underway.

Israel maintains that soldiers were deployed inside the hospital, which allegedly served as a refuge for Hamas fighters. A tunnel under the hospital reportedly contained weapons.

Prisoner exchange takes place between Israel and Hamas

A consensus reached between Israel and Hamas foresees a four-day cessation of conflict. It also includes the liberation of about 50 women and children detained in the Gaza Strip, in exchange for in excess of 100 Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons. The agreement also anticipates a "considerable increase of humanitarian convoys" entering Gaza.

The Times of Israel, citing the Israeli military, reported that the 13 hostages freed on Friday by the Palestinian Hamas group are currently in Israel. This group consists of women and children, inclusive of those kidnapped from the Nir Oz kibbutz during the October 7 Hamas attack.

As communicated by the military, "Our forces are escorting the released hostages until they can be reunited with their families in the hospitals."

The prime minister's office, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, proclaimed that it "welcomes the return of Israeli citizens." It further announced that the liberated hostages have undergone preliminary medical examinations.

The prisoner exchange has triggered civil unrest on the Jordan's West Bank. Addressing the crowds gathered to welcome the released Palestinian prisoners, Israeli authorities were compelled to employ tear gas. This event represents part of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas, the Associated Press revealed on Friday.

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