Hamas must track down 40 missing hostages to extend ceasefire, Qatar says

Hamas will need to locate 40 hostages in Gaza before it can extend the ceasefire which is due to end today, Qatar said.

Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, told the Financial Times Hamas cannot agree to an extension of the current ceasefire until it finds 40 women and children who are allegedly held by gangs, civilians and other Islamist groups.

He told the publication: “We don’t yet have any clear information how many they can find because… one of the purposes [of the pause] is they [Hamas] will have time to search for the rest of the missing people.”

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the current four-day ceasefire, which began on Friday, will be extended by one day for every 10 extra hostages released.

The leaders of Hamas have told Doha its gunmen did not seize any civilians during the October 7 attack on Israel, instead blaming other Islamist groups and Palestinian civilians.

The Qatari PM’s comments raise doubts at to whether Hamas can find the hostages necessary to uphold its side of the bargain.


READ MORE Israel hostages lay bare grim Hamas captivity – from rations to plastic beds

Freed hostage, 84, in a life-threatening condition

Militants freed 17 more hostages on Sunday, including 14 Israelis and the first American, in a third exchange under the four-day truce. Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners.

Most hostages have been handed over directly to Israel while others left via Egypt.

Israel’s army said one was airlifted to a hospital, and the director of Soroka Medical Center said Elma Avraham, 84, was in a life-threatening condition as “a result of an extended period of time when an elderly woman was not taken care of as needed”.

The youngest hostage released was Abigail Edan, a four-year-old girl and dual Israeli-American citizen whose parents were killed in the Hamas attack.

Top Hamas leader dead, group says

Hamas has announced the death of Ahmed al-Ghandour, who was in charge of northern Gaza and a member of its top military council.

He is the highest-ranking militant known to have been killed in the fighting so far. Israel’s military has confirmed the death.

Al-Ghandour had survived at least three Israeli attempts on his life and was involved in a cross-border attack in 2006 in which Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier, according to the Counter Extremism Project, an advocacy group based in Washington.

Hamas said he was killed along with three other senior militants, including Ayman Siam, who Israel says was in charge of Hamas’ rocket-firing unit.

The Israeli military mentioned both men in a November 16 statement, saying it had targeted an underground complex where Hamas leaders were hiding.

Israel’s military claims to have killed thousands of militants, but has not provided evidence.

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