Sixteen more hostages have been freed from Gaza and 30 more Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails as negotiators tried to hammer out a further extension to the six-day pause in hostilities which could resume as early as Thursday (November 30) afternoon Australian time if Israel and Hamas fail to reach an agreement.
The latest captives to be returned included two Russian-Israeli women who were released separately first. The others who followed were four male teens aged 16 to 18, a 13-year-old girl and five women aged 36 to 57. All were Israelis, but several were dual nationals from the US, Germany and the Netherlands. Four more Thai farm workers were also freed..
Celebrations were muted as Hamas claimed that the youngest hostage 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his four-year-old brother Ariel and their mother Shiri had been killed in an Israeli airstrike. It didn’t say when or where. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) couldn’t confirm their deaths, but believe the mother and boys had been transferred by Hamas to another Palestinian militant group in Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis. For many Israelis, baby Kfir was the innocent face at the heart of the Hamas atrocities.