Both sides want the six-day truce lengthened but Egyptian and Qatari mediators are thrashing out the details. Tonight the first of 12 Israeli hostages were released from captivity in Gaza. Ten more were due to be freed.
The Israeli military said Hamas handed over two Russian-Israeli hostages while Israel is set to release some 30 Palestinian prisoners. As talks continued Hamas claimed, without evidence, 10-month-old Israeli Kfir Bibas, brother Ariel, four, and mum Shiri, 32, had been killed in an Israeli airstrike before the truce. The fate of Kfir’s dad Yarden, 34, is unknown.
The White House is threatening to withdraw support for Israel in Gaza unless it takes more care to avoid civilian casualties in the south. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed: “There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end.”
War began with Hamas’s October 7 massacre in Israel, in which more than 1,200 people were killed and 240 were kidnapped. Israel’s response has been to kill around 15,000, with thousands more missing, feared dead.
As many as 180 Palestinians have been released from prison. The World Health Organization said fewer than half of Gaza’s hospitals are now functional. Experts have recorded a “deeply alarming” surge in respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, meningitis and other illnesses in recent days.
Gazan doctors contacted British surgeons for advice on how to treat a 33-year-old man with severe injuries. The Mirror has seen a video but it is too harrowing to describe. A UK doctor says: “They have no intravenous antibiotics, sutures, gauze and alcohol to clean up the wound.
“No food and water so he is starved and looks very cachectic [wasting away]. It is incredible the patient is awake and able to communicate. He is alive and could go on living but he needs complex treatment urgently. He is dying in hospital.” UK surgeons regularly travel to Palestine with the organisation Medical Aid For Palestinians.
Top neurosurgeon Roddy O’Kane said it was “the most disturbing I’ve seen in years of neurosurgery”. He added: “This patient could survive. It is extremely distressing and he will be in pain. He is conscious and talking to doctors. Until he’s in a hospital with equipment for complex surgery his life is slipping away.”
Israel says 77 of its soldiers have died in the ground offensive. It is thought 5,300 Hamas fighters have died. About 160 hostages are still held in Gaza – 126 male, 35 female, including four under 18 and 10 over the age of 75.
A total of 60 Israelis have been freed under the truce, most of whom appear physically well but shaken. Another 21 hostages have been released in separate negotiations since the truce began. Palestinian boys, Amir Wahden, 14, and Malik Deghreh, 17, were shot dead by Israel in the West Bank cities of Tubas and Ramallah respectively.