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Breaking news. Israel Hamas war: Aid trucks enter Gaza as Hamas releases hostages and conflict death toll rises

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The latest updates from the Israel Hamas war.

Humanitarian aid begins flowing from Egypt to Gaza – Red Crescent

Humanitarian aid trucks have begun crossing the Rafah terminal on the Egyptian side towards the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, a security source and an Egyptian Red Crescent official told AFP.

Palestinian Samia al-Atrash holds the corpse of one of her sister's children, killed in an Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday

Egyptian state television showed several trucks passing through the huge gate of the border crossing on the 15th day of war between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, as tons of aid have been piling up for days in the waiting for a passage to the 2.4 million Gazans, half of them children, without water, electricity or fuel.

Hamas releases two US hostages

Hamas militants freed two Americans late on Friday – a mother and her teenage daughter, who had been held hostage in Gaza since militants rampaged through Israel two weeks ago, the Israeli government said.

The pair, who also hold Israeli citizenship, were the first hostages to be released. More than 200 are still being held.

The two Americans, Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie, were out of the Gaza Strip and in the hands of the Israeli military, an army spokesman said. Hamas said it was releasing them in an agreement with the Qatari government for humanitarian reasons.

Judith and Natalie Ranaan had been on a trip to southern Israel from their home in suburban Chicago to celebrate a Jewish holiday, family said. They had been staying at the kibbutz of Nahal Oz, near Gaza, when Hamas fighters took them and more than 200 others hostage.

Relatives of other captives welcomed the release and appealed for others to be freed.

“We call on world leaders and the international community to exert their full power in order to act for the release of all the hostages and missing,’’ their statement said.

In this photo provided by the Government of Israel, Judith Raanan (R) and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie are escorted by Gal Hirsch, special coordinator for hostage return
In this photo provided by the Government of Israel, Judith Raanan (R) and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie are escorted by Gal Hirsch, special coordinator for hostage returnGovernment of Israel via AP Photo

17 UN refugee agency employees killed since the start of the war

At least 17 employees of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarin said on Saturday.

“So far, the deaths in this brutal war of 17 of our colleagues have been confirmed. Unfortunately, the true figure is likely to be higher,” Lazzarin wrote in a statement.

Some “were killed at home while sleeping with their families,” he added.

“In the Gaza Strip, incessant airstrikes and bombardments, coupled with evacuation orders by Israeli forces, have led to the displacement of a million people and caused the deaths of far too many civilians,” Lazzarini went on, calling for “an urgent humanitarian ceasefire”.

He also noted that the UNRWA’s facilities “are now overcrowded”, with 500,000 people having taken refuge there.

Israel calls on its citizens to immediately leave Egypt and Jordan

Israel has called on its citizens in Egypt and Jordan to leave these two countries “as quickly as possible” due to a “worsening of demonstrations against Israel”.

A similar alert, level 4, the highest, had already been issued for Turkey and the recommendations were raised to level 3 for Morocco, advising Israelis not to go there.

“Due to the continuation of the war, and a significant worsening in recent days of demonstrations against Israel… and demonstrations of hostility and violence against Israeli and Jewish symbols”, the entire ” Middle East and Arab countries” are not recommended for Israelis, warned the Israeli National Security Council in a statement.

Two Israeli tourists and their Egyptian guide were killed by a police officer in Alexandria on 8 October, the day after Hamas attacks on Israel.

Biden thinks Hamas attack linked to efforts on Israel-Saudi relations

President Joe Biden said he thinks Hamas’ initial attack on Israel was tied in part to efforts to normalise relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, an initiative that Biden was trying to bring to fruition.

“They knew that I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” the U.S. president said late on Friday, speaking at a fundraiser.

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