November 21, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Christian Edwards, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Maureen Chowdhury, Tori B. Powell and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 12:04 a.m. ET, November 22, 2023
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11:00 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

150 Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli jails as part of hostage deal, Hamas says

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury 

One hundred and fifty Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails will be released as part of a deal reached with Israel over hostages held in Gaza, according to a Hamas statement early Wednesday.

The prisoners are women and children, the statement said.

Hamas confirmed the deal, brokered by Qatari and Egyptian mediation, which will see the release of 50 hostages, also women and children, held in Gaza since October 7. It also said the agreement involves the entry of hundreds of trucks carrying aid relief, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the full list of relevant prisoners has yet to be released, but unlike the last hostage deal, this group does not include anyone who was involved in the October 7 attacks. 

“The mastermind behind many of the horrible things that are unfolding since October 7th, was indeed released in the latest hostage deal,” Conricus told CNN. “What I know is that the Palestinians that are being freed from prisons are not at all that caliber of terrorists that we were talking about before, not serious offenders.”

Conricus suggested the list of prisoners included in the deal will be released soon, following a short window for appeals. 

9:29 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

3 Americans could be part of hostage release of 50 women and children, officials say

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Three Americans could be part of the agreement securing the release of 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza, senior US officials said.

Ten Americans remain unaccounted for, including two women and one 3-year-old girl, according to a senior administration official.

“We’re determined to get everybody home," a senior administration official said when pressed by CNN’s MJ Lee on the remaining unaccounted for Americans.

“The way the deal is structured, it very much incentivizes the release of everybody,” the official added.
“The hostages deal, as it is structured, includes a pause, a humanitarian pause over a number of days, four to five days at least. And there's the potential with additional releases for that to be for that to be extended, but that will also be dependent upon Hamas releasing additional hostages.”

Implementation will begin “about 24 hours” after a deal is announced by Qatar, the official said. They added there are “various locations where the hostages will be brought out,” which was part of the negotiations.

What's next: After their safe passage, the released hostages will receive medical attention in Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters earlier Tuesday, suggesting that some could have longer-term medical needs following six weeks in “abhorrent conditions.”

There will then be efforts to repatriate citizens to their home countries and connect them with their families. 

For any American citizens released, Kirby said, after medical care is prioritized, the US State Department will provide consular assistance.

8:56 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

It's unclear when the pause in fighting will begin, diplomatic source says

Though Israel's cabinet early Wednesday approved an agreement for the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a four-day truce in fighting, the “details on when the pause starts are still unclear," a diplomatic source familiar with the talks told CNN.

The Israeli government statement confirming the deal held out the potential for the truce to extend beyond the four-day period, in exchange for more hostages released.

9:00 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Israel says 4-day truce in Gaza could be extended if more hostages are released

From CNN's Andrew Carey

The Israeli government held out the potential for a truce to extend beyond the original four-day period, saying in a statement that an extra day would be added to the truce for each 10 additional hostages available for release.

The statement also made clear that Israel plans to resume its air and ground campaign “to complete the eradication of Hamas” once this round of hostage releases concludes.

Israel’s cabinet approved a deal that would see the release of some hostages from Gaza on Tuesday in exchange for a four-day truce in Israel’s air and ground campaign in the enclave. The deal was approved by a significant majority of the cabinet, a government source told CNN.

8:41 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Granddaughter of a hostage says news of deal gives her "so much hope"

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

Anat Moshe Shoshany, whose grandmother was kidnapped from kibbutz Nir-Oz on the back of a moped, said hearing that the Israeli cabinet approved a deal for the release of some hostages held by Hamas gave her "so much hope."

"I just saw the cabinet approved the deal. This gives me actually so much hope," she told CNN's John Berman. "Even if my grandmother won't be among those people, and obviously I hope she will be, but even if she's not, I just can't wait to see the picture of the children, of the innocent people going out from there after so many days, so many long days that we're waiting for them."

She added: "We're fighting this fight for a very long time. It's going to be the 47th day tomorrow. So we learn to be patient and be calm about it as much as we can. Because we can't stand to fill all our hopes up and to disappoint – but I really do hope to see someone walking out of there. I think it will fill us with hope for others."

Asked whether she had received any information regarding her grandmother's well-being or whether her grandmother would be part of an initial hostage release, Shoshany said she didn't have any confirmed information.

Some context: Israel’s cabinet approved a deal early Wednesday that would see the release of at least 50 hostages — women and children — held in Gaza by Hamas, in exchange for a four-day truce in Israel’s air and ground campaign in the enclave, according to a government statement.

8:58 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Israel’s cabinet votes to approve deal to release at least 50 hostages in exchange for 4-day truce

From CNN's Andrew Carey

Israel’s cabinet has approved a deal that would see the release of at least 50 hostages — women and children — held in Gaza by Hamas, in exchange for a four-day truce in Israel’s air and ground campaign in the enclave, according to an Israeli government statement.

The statement held out the potential for the truce to extend beyond the original four-day period, saying that an extra day would be added to the truce for each 10 additional hostages available for release.

The statement also made clear that Israel plans to resume its air and ground campaign “to complete the eradication of Hamas” once this round of hostage releases concludes.

The statement made no mention of the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, though it is understood this is also a key part of the deal. Earlier reports Tuesday suggested about 150 Palestinian prisoners — also predominantly women and children — would be released.

The deal was approved by the Israeli cabinet by a significant majority, a government source told CNN. 

A more detailed statement will be sent to families of the hostages later today, the statement read.

This post was updated with additional details from the Israeli government statement.

8:57 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Israel’s cabinet votes to approve hostage release deal

From CNN's Andrew Carey

Family and friends of Israelis being held in Gaza at a demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 21.
Family and friends of Israelis being held in Gaza at a demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 21. Ariel Schalit/AP

Israel’s cabinet has approved a deal that would see the release of some hostages from Gaza.

The deal was approved by a significant majority of the cabinet, a government source told CNN.

8:23 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Israeli cabinet meeting in hostage deal has ended, source says

From CNN's Andrew Carey

A meeting between Israeli cabinet members on a potential hostage deal has ended, according to an Israeli government source. There is no word on a result of the vote yet.

6:54 p.m. ET, November 21, 2023

Qatar hopes to announce a hostage deal today. Here's what you should know

From CNN staff

Qatar is hoping to announce a deal as soon as Tuesday to release several civilian hostages taken by Hamas in the October 7 attack in exchange for a pause in fighting, a diplomatic source and another source familiar with the talks told CNN. Qatar delivered a proposal early Tuesday morning following weeks of continuous negotiations, according to Majid Al-Ansari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

US President Joe Biden confirmed Tuesday that efforts to retrieve the hostages are “now very close” following extensive negotiations over the past six weeks. The White House offered a broad overview of what will happen to the released hostages on Tuesday.

Here are other headlines you should know:

  • More on the hostage situation: A US official expressed optimism that a deal was achievable, saying "this is the closest we’ve been.” Two far-right Israeli parties that are members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government —the Religious Zionism Party and Jewish Power party — suggested Tuesday that they would not support the hostage deal being considered by the government. Both Israel and Hamas are still working on the names of those who could be released in an exchange of hostages in Gaza, two Israeli sources told CNN Tuesday. They are expected to be mostly children as well as Israeli citizens and dual nationals, sources told CNN. The families of the hostages remain largely in the dark as negotiations continue. A source familiar with the negotiations said there is hope that with a potential hostage deal, they will be able to get significantly more aid into the Gaza Strip, working toward a goal of 400 trucks a day. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claims its ground operations in Gaza “create better conditions” for a potential return of hostages." Although a hostage deal may be reached, Netanyahu said the war will continue. Also Tuesday, Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha has been released after questioning, according to the IDF.
  • Calls for ceasefire: The United Nations has called for an immediate ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war but said it would welcome a pause in fighting for the organization to be able to get more aid into Gaza, according to to UN relief chief Martin Griffiths. Additionally, the Chinese President also reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire again of all parties in the Israel-Hamas conflict and for the release of detained civilians.
  • Humanitarian crisis: In its latest update on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the main UN agency in the Gaza Strip said that almost 1.7 million people have been displaced since October 7. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said that 930,000 internally displaced people were sheltering in its premises across Gaza as of November 19. The shelters are already severely overcrowded and have no more room for new arrivals, it said. And up to 50% of the buildings in northern Gaza and Gaza governorates have been damaged in the war since October 7, according to an analysis of radar satellite data, called SAR, carried out by researchers at the City University of New York Graduate Center and Oregon State University.  
  • More strikes: Wounded men, women and children were taken to hospitals in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalya area in northern Gaza, Reuters videos shot on Tuesday show. The IDF said early Tuesday that the Israeli Air Force was “preparing the battlefield” by focusing on ���terror targets” in Jabalya. Also, two heavy explosions sent up large plumes of smoke in northern Gaza early Tuesday evening. The explosions shook windows and doorframes of a CNN position in Sderot, across from the border with Gaza.