Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met in Qatar with Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas' politburo, French news agency AFP reported Monday evening.
"The ICRC does not participate in negotiations leading to the release of hostages. As a neutral humanitarian mediator, we are ready to facilitate any future releases agreed upon by the conflict parties, as ICRC teams have already done on two occasions," it was stated.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he believes a deal to secure the release of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza is near.
Rocket sirens sounded all across central Israel, as well as in the southern city of Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries. A vehicle in the central city of Holon was hit by shrapnel.
The IDF reported detecting two launches aimed at Israeli territory, both intercepted by the Iron Dome and David's Sling missile defense systems. Extensive warnings were issued due to concerns about shrapnel from the interceptions.
Dozens of protesters calling for the release of hostages in Gaza outside the UNICEF offices in Tel Aviv were seen seeking cover as sirens began to blare.
The Hezbollah-run TV channel Al-Manar on Monday evening broadcast footage of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels taking over a cargo ship with supposed links to Israel in the southern Red Sea and capturing 22 crewmembers on board the day before.
In the almost four-minute video, a helicopter bearing a Palestinian flag lands on board the ship. Masked gunmen disembark from the helicopter and proceed to capture the ship's crew. The footage concludes with several smaller boats escorting the vessel.
The Bahamas-flagged vessel, Galaxy Leader, is reportedly owned by the shipping company Ray, owned by Israeli businessman Rami Ungar. There were no Israelis on board.
Earlier, rocket alert sirens sounded several times in the morning hours and early afternoon in northern Israeli communities on the border with Lebanon. More than 20 launches were recorded in a barrage before 3 p.m. in the northern region. The IDF Aerial Defense Array intercepted a number of the launches and the rest fell in open areas. Moreover, three UAVs were identified striking adjacent to an IDF post. No injuries were reported.
The Biranit military base in the Western Galilee was heavily damaged early Thursday afternoon by rocket fire, according to videos circulating.
The IDF reported Thursday afternoon that, earlier in the day, a terrorist cell attempted to launch anti-tank missiles in the area of Marwahin in Lebanon. The IDF struck the cell. Additionally, in response to the launches toward Israeli territory earlier, IDF tanks, a fighter jet and a helicopter struck Hezbollah terror infrastructure in Lebanon.
Security forces arrested 16 terror suspects in West Bank raids on Monday, including a Hamas commander. During the operation, terrorists opened fire at troops and threw flash grenades at their positions. In response, forces returned fire and neutralized the terrorists.
An Egyptian source told the Wall Street Journal that the Palestinian prisoners who will be released from prisons in Israel as part of a deal to release the Israeli hostages, will have no connection to Hamas. According to the newspaper, Hamas demands that the hostage deal be carried out in stages: In the first stage Israel will release female and teenage terrorists from prisons opposite the 50 women and children who will be released from the Gaza Strip. In the second phase, there will be a five-day cease-fire. Hamas also demanded an increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the cessation of intelligence flights in its airspace during the cease-fire.
Iran denies Israeli claims that it was involved in the seizure of a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea by Yemen's Houthis, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on Monday at a press conference. On Sunday, Israel said the incident was an "Iranian act of terrorism" with consequences for international maritime security. The Houthis, an ally of Tehran, have been launching long-range missile and drone salvoes at Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian Hamas militants fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops continue to operate in the Gaza Strip, directing aircraft to strike terrorists, terrorist infrastructure, and locating weapons and military equipment, the IDF said. IDF fighter jets, directed by IDF and ISA intelligence, killed three additional Hamas company commanders overnight Monday. In addition, IDF troops identified a terrorist cell as they entered a nearby building. As a result of the strike carried out by an IDF aircraft, the terrorists were killed and a weapons depot in which they hid was struck.
The Israel Defense Forces announced early on Monday morning the deaths of two more soldiers in the Gaza campaign. Staff Sgt. Dvir Barazani, 20, from Jerusalem, and Sgt. Yinon Tamir, 20, from Pardes Hanna-Karkur, both of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 890th Battalion, fell during an operational activity in the northern Gaza Strip. Later the IDF announced the death of a third soldier, Staff Sgt. Eytan Dishon, 21, from Jerusalem, of the Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit, who was killed during fighting in the northern Gaza Strip.
The spokesman for the US National Security Council said that the statement by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which denied the massacre carried out by Hamas at the Re'im music festival and blamed Israel instead "does not respect the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the terrible terrorist attack carried out by Hamas in October 7. We understand that the Palestinian Authority removed it from their website, and we are glad that the Palestinian Authority has since clarified that this is not their official position."
Overnight, rocket alert sirens were activated several times on both the southern and northern border.
The Palestinians reported overnight that the IDF surrounded the Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, while carrying out attacks in the area.
Japan early Monday condemned the takeover of the cargo ship Galaxy Leader by the Houthis from Yemen. A spokesman for the government confirmed that the ship had been hijacked, said that there were no Japanese citizens on board and appealed to Yemen, as well as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran, to act to free the ship and the crew members on board.
The ship was carrying cars from Turkey and was seized in the southern Red Sea en route to India. She is registered under the Bahamian flag and has Nassau as her home port. The IDF called the hijacking of the cargo ship "a very grave incident of global consequence." The army added that the vessel was "staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship."
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he has ordered the flight of 10 tons of medical equipment and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip early next week. Macron wrote on the X network that the aid will include two mobile units, each of which will be able to treat about 500 seriously wounded. He also said that a French helicopter carrier will leave for Egypt in the coming days, and will be able to provide support to the hospitals with about 40 beds intended for the seriously injured. In addition, Macron wrote that France is working to transfer about 50 sick and injured children from Gaza to receive treatment in France.
Progress has been made in Qatari-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas for the release of hostages held in Gaza, Ynet learned late on Sunday. Israeli officials believe that Hamas, realizing the IDF would not retreat from Al Shifa Hospital despite the terrorist group's demands, was left with no choice but to continue negotiations.
According to Qatari mediators, Hamas said it was ready to release a group of 50 captives in the first stage in exchange for a four-to-five-day pause in fighting, the release of about 150 Palestinian children and women imprisoned in Israel and the entry of fuel into the Gaza. However, Hamas clarified that it does not know the whereabouts of all the kidnapped children and mothers and would need to gather them during the initial days of the truce, provided Israel refrains from airstrikes. Additionally, Hamas expressed willingness to increase the number of released hostages, contingent on being able to locate them in Gaza during the truce. Israel negotiators stated that if an additional 20-25 hostages are added to the initial 50 released, it would enable the release of all families, including children, mothers and elderly women.
Still, late on Sunday night, Israel denied that a pause in the fighting in Gaza would come into effect at 11 a.m. on Monday as part of an agreement to release Israeli hostages, as Hamas officials claim.
First published: 08:19, 11.20.23