Donald Trump on Saturday warned that the Israel-Hamas ceasefire agreement ‘is not going to end well’ – accusing negotiators of making a bad deal and pointing out no Americans have been released.
The ceasefire went into effect at 7am local time on Friday, and since then 41 of the 240 hostages have been released: 24 on Friday, and 17 on Saturday.
On Saturday, 13 Israelis – including Israeli-Irish nine-year-old Emily Hand – and four Thais were released.
Saturday’s release was not as smooth as Fridays, and at one point on Saturday afternoon it appeared it may not happen at all.
Donald Trump, seen on Saturday in South Carolina, said he is concerned about the hostage release deal
An International Red Cross vehicle carrying hostages released by Hamas drives towards the Rafah border point with Egypt on Saturday
But the release did happen – although for the second day running there were no U.S. citizens among those freed.
Abigail Mor Edan lost both of her parents in Hamas’ bloody October 7 attack on Israel and is believed to be the youngest U.S. citizen in the terror group’s hands. She turned four-years-old on Friday
‘Has anybody noticed that Hamas has returned people from other Countries but, so far, has not returned one American Hostage?’ wrote Trump on his Truth Social platform.
‘There is only one reason for that, NO RESPECT FOR OUR COUNTRY OR OUR LEADERSHIP. This is a very sad and dark period of America!’
Trump added: ‘Hamas now wants a better deal for hostages. This is not going to end well!’
The deal, negotiated by Qatar with U.S. and Egyptian support, will see 50 hostages – mainly women and children – released in groups by Hamas on four consecutive days, during a temporary halt in fighting.
Israel in return is freeing 150 Palestinians currently in their jails.
Qatar has said they are hopeful that the agreement could be extended, so that more hostages can be freed.
Joe Biden, who is currently on the island of Nantucket for the Thanksgiving break, said on Saturday he hopes Americans will be among the next group to be freed.
President Joe Biden sips a smoothie while out shopping in Nantucket on Saturday, during his Thanksgiving break
Biden walks with his granddaughter Natalie Biden on Saturday in Nantucket
Emily Hand, aged nine, is led to safety by gun-toting Hamas militants on Saturday evening, after 50 days in captivity
Nine-year-old Irish girl Emily Hand has been reunited with her father, who has vowed to mark her latest birthday with the ‘biggest party ever’
Emily was one of 13 Israeli citizens to be freed on Saturday from terror group Hamas and had her ninth birthday while in captivity
A Red Cross vehicle, carrying hostages abducted by Hamas militants during the October 7 attack on Israel, arrives at the Rafah border, amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel
An International Red Cross vehicle carrying hostages released by Hamas driving towards the Rafah crossing on Saturday evening
Ruth Munder, a released Israeli hostage, walks with an Israeli soldier shortly after her arrival in Israel on Friday
Tens of thousands of Israelis have amassed in Tel Aviv as the country waits for the return of a second group of hostages
People attend a rally organized by the Bring Them Home Now association to support families of kidnapped people and to call for release of hostages, in Tel Aviv
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said 196 trucks of aid entered on Friday, and Israel said four fuel trucks and four tanks of gas entered Saturday
Aviv Asher, 2; her sister Raz Asher, 4; and mother Doron, react as they meet with Yoni – Raz and Aviv’s father and Doron’s husband
Ohad Munder, 9-year-old, reacts as he meets with his family members after he returned to Israel to the designated complex at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center on Saturday
Ohad is seen being released by Hamas gunmen on Friday, in a video filmed and released by Hamas
Asked on Saturday whether there would be Americans, he replied: ‘Hopefully we’ll see something soon.’
Hopes remain that the two American women and one child – Abigail Edan, who was orphaned in the October 7 attack and turned four on Friday – could be released on Sunday or Monday.
On Saturday night, the office of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said they had received a list of hostages due to be released on Sunday.
‘Security officials are checking the list’ and the information has been conveyed to the hostages’ families, the office said in a statement.
Al-Ansari, the Qatari spokesman, told CNN on Saturday that he hoped the truce and the hostage hand-over would be continued.
Since the October 7 attack, which killed 1,200 Israelis, an estimated 15,000 Gazans have been killed.
‘What we are hoping for is that the momentum that has carried from the releases of these two days and from this agreement of four days will allow us to extend the truce beyond these four days and therefore get into more serious discussions about the rest of the hostages,’ Al-Ansari said.
‘Within this kind of mediation, you’re always going to find both sides saying that the other side did not abide by the agreement.’
He said he could not say whether any Americans would be among those released on Sunday and Monday.
‘The lists are delivered on a daily basis,’ he said.
‘Sadly, we can’t know who is going to be on that list beforehand.’
In the West Bank, hundreds of people burst into wild celebrations for a second night as a busload of Palestinian prisoners arrived early Sunday.
Teenage boys released in the deal were carried on the shoulders of well-wishers in the main square of the town of Al Bireh.
Shuruq Dwayat, left, a Palestinian prisoner released by Israel, is hugged by relatives as she arrives home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Bahar on Sunday morning
Israa Jaabis, center, a Palestinian prisoner released by Israel, is hugged by relatives as she arrives home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber on Sunday
Palestinians walk by buildings destroyed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on Saturday
Some of the Palestinian prisoners were released in east Jerusalem, while the bulk returned home to a hero’s welcome in the occupied West Bank.
But the mood of celebration was dampened by scenes of destruction and suffering in Gaza.
The start of the pause brought quiet for 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, who are reeling from relentless Israeli bombardment that has killed thousands, driven three-quarters of the population from their homes and leveled residential areas. Rocket fire from Gaza militants into Israel also went silent.
War-weary Palestinians in northern Gaza, where the offensive has been focused, returned to the streets, crunching over rubble between shattered buildings and at times digging through it with bare hands.
At the Indonesian hospital in Jabaliya, besieged by the Israeli military earlier this month, bodies lay in the courtyard and outside the main gate.
For Emad Abu Hajer, a resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza City area, the pause meant he could again search through the remains of his home, which was flattened in an Israeli attack last week.
He found the bodies of a cousin and nephew, bringing the death toll in the attack to 19. His sister and two other relatives are still missing.
‘We want to find them and bury them in dignity,’ he said.
Palestinians visit an open-air market in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on Saturday
Palestinians line up for cooking gas during the second day of the temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in Rafah
The United Nations said the pause enabled it to scale up the delivery of food, water, and medicine to the largest volume since the resumption of aid convoys on October 21.
It was also able to deliver about 35,000 gallons of fuel – just over 10 percent of the daily pre-war volume – as well as cooking gas, a first since the war began.
In the southern city of Khan Younis, a long line of people with containers waited outside a filling station.
Hossam Fayad lamented that the pause in fighting was only for four days.
‘I wish it could be extended until people´s conditions improved,’ he said.
For the first time in over a month, aid reached northern Gaza.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 61 trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies headed there on Saturday, the largest aid convoy to reach the area yet.
The U.N. said it and the Palestinian Red Crescent were also able to evacuate 40 patients and family members from a hospital in Gaza City to a hospital in Khan Younis.