Our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has moved here.
The Israeli military's air defense system intercepted one rocket launched from the Gaza Strip just over an hour before the truce between Israel and Hamas is set to expire, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said early Friday local time.
There is no indication of who launched the single rocket.
Rocket sirens have been heard in the Sderot area in the final hours of the seven-day truce.
The current agreement between Israel and Hamas is set to expire at 7 a.m. local time Friday (midnight ET).
This post has been updated with additional information.
Israeli officials obtained a document describing Hamas’ battle plan for its October 7 terror attack more than a year before the militant group carried out the assault, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing documents, emails and interviews.
The roughly 40-page document did not give a date for the attack, but outlined “point by point” the kind of deadly incursion that Hamas carried out in Israeli territory in October, according to the Times, which reviewed the translated document.
Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan, assessing that it would be too difficult for Hamas to carry out, according to the Times.
The document, which the Israeli authorities code-named “Jericho Wall,” detailed an assault that would overwhelm fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and target key military bases. It was followed with precision by Hamas on October 7, the Times said.
On that day, Hamas militants struck across the border from Gaza in a coordinated assault taking more than 200 hostages and killing around 1,200 people – the largest such attack on Israel since the country’s founding in 1948.
The attack was widely seen a major Israeli intelligence failure, with a number of top defense and security officials coming forward in October to take responsibility to some extent for missteps that led to the attacks.
Later that month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received sharp public criticism after he accused security chiefs in a later-deleted social media post of failing to warn him about the impending attack.
“On the contrary, all the defense officials … assessed that Hamas was deterred,” Netanyahu wrote at the time.
According to the Times, the “Jericho Wall” document was circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, but it was unclear whether Netanyahu or other top political leaders saw the document.
A total of 30 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons in Damon, Megiddo, Ofer, Nafha, Ktzi’ot and Ramon on Thursday, the Israeli prison service said in a statement.
Under the terms of the Israel-Hamas truce, Israel has to free three Palestinians for every Israeli hostage freed.
After a tense and lengthy back-and-forth on extending the truce into a seventh day, the Israeli government eventually accepted a proposal for Hamas to release eight new Israeli hostages on Thursday. Israel agreed to count two Israeli-Russian hostages who were set free on Wednesday as part of Thursday’s release, multiple sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.
Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari also reiterated the terms of the truce extension Thursday, stating Israel would release 30 Palestinians in Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of 10 hostages in Gaza — with the two Israeli-Russian nationals released on Wednesday counted on the list as part of the hostage deal.
CNN's MJ Lee, Alex Marquardt, Kaitlan Collins and Becky Anderson contributed reporting to this post.
There are only hours remaining in the uneasy truce between Israel and Hamas that has lasted for seven days and led to the release of dozens of hostages, the freeing of Palestinians from Israeli jails and the ratcheting up of much-needed humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip.
The truce, which was only renewed at the last minute for the seventh day, is set to expire again at around 7 a.m. local time Friday (midnight ET).
Both sides are in a day-to-day extension phase of the agreement under which Hamas must offer up a new list of 10 hostages to be released to secure another 24 hours in the pause in fighting.
The military wing of Hamas is calling for its forces to remain on “high combat readiness” in case combat resumes, a statement said.
Here's what you should know to get up to speed:
- Released hostages: Hamas released eight hostages on Thursday — six of whom have just arrived in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. The two other hostages, Amit Soussana and Mia Schem, were released earlier in the day. The seventh group was released at different times because they were held in different locations in Gaza, an Israeli official said. According to sources, to extend the truce, Israel accepted eight new hostages plus the two Israeli-Russians released on Wednesday.
- Status of the truce: Egyptian and Qatari negotiators are pushing to extend the truce for an additional two days, Egypt said. The current extension is expected to expire at 7 a.m. local time Friday (midnight ET) if there is not a new agreement. Under Thursday's extension, which was agreed upon minutes before it was set to expire, 10 Israeli hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners were to be released — the same terms as the previous days.
- Negotiation challenges: But continuing to extend the pause in fighting could be challenging, negotiators said. Hamas claimed until the last minute that it was having trouble locating 10 women and children hostages — a condition that Israel insisted must be met — to extend the truce into Thursday. A member of Israel's parliament said the government is willing to discuss different terms for the release of men and soldiers held by the militant group.
- Talks on the sidelines of climate summit: Israeli President Isaac Herzog is asking United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to use his “full political weight” to help speed up the release of remaining hostages in Gaza. The leaders met on the sidelines of the UN climate summit COP28 in Dubai, according to a readout of the meeting.
- Blinken in Israel and the West Bank: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the war cabinet and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. The top US diplomat said Netanyahu offered concrete steps to ensure Israel makes further efforts to protect civilians in Gaza when fighting resumes. Blinken also “condemned extremist violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and said he would continue to insist on full accountability for those responsible” in his meeting with Abbas.
- Other visitors to Israel: The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor visited Israel at the request of survivors and families of victims of the October 7 attacks. The court said Karim Khan's visit was "not investigative in nature." Five countries have submitted a referral to the ICC to investigate whether crimes have been committed in the Palestinian territories as part of Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks.
Hamas and Israel are now fully in a day-to-day extension phase of their truce, where Hamas must offer up a new list of 10 hostages in order to secure another 24 hours in the pause in fighting.
Hamas claimed until the last minute Thursday that it was having trouble locating enough hostages to fulfill Israel's terms, posing serious challenges for the talks on extending the truce into a seventh day. After a tense and lengthy back-and-forth, Hamas ultimately waited until very close to the truce expiring to hand over a list.
The Israeli government decided to accept the proposal from Hamas, which was to release only eight new Israeli hostages on Thursday, and count two Israeli-Russian hostages who were set free on Wednesday as part of Thursday’s release, multiple sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.
When the time came, hostages were released Thursday from different places and at different times. According to an Israeli official, this is because the hostages were held in different locations in Gaza.
With Thursday's challenges in mind, anxious negotiators fear the process of extending the truce into an eighth day could be very challenging.
Tamar Michaelis contributed reporting to this post.
The six additional hostages released by Hamas on Thursday have arrived in Israel and will head to Hatzerim Airbase, where they will undergo an initial medical assessment, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Israeli soldiers will escort the freed hostages to hospitals, where they will reunite with their families, the military said, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. Three different medical centers will care for the hostages: two in the Tel Aviv area and one in Be'er Sheva, in southern Israel, according to health officials.
Live visuals showed a convoy of Red Cross vans entering the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt en route to Israel late Thursday night.
Earlier Thursday, two women who had been held in Gaza were released and taken to Israeli hospitals.
Hostages were released in separate batches Thursday because they were being held in different locations in Gaza, according to an Israeli official.
Identity of hostages: The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum in Israel released the names of the hostages — some of whom hold dual citizenship.
Their identities are as follows:
- Sapir Cohen, adult
- Shani Goren, adult
- Nili Margalit, adult
- Ilana Gritzewsky, adult
- Bilal Alziadana, adult
- Aisha Alziadana, child
Among the complete group of hostages released Thursday, those with dual nationalities include a Mexican, a Russian and an Uruguayan, according to Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Dr. Majed Al-Ansari.
Four out of the total eight hostages are residents of kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel, the kibbutz said in a statement.
This post has been updated with more details about the released hostages.
Six more hostages held in Gaza have been handed over to the Red Cross, the Israel Defense Forces said Thursday.
They are on their way to Israeli territory, according to the IDF.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel needs to make further efforts to protect civilians in Gaza — such as designating safe zones in south and central Gaza — when Israel resumes its military action against Hamas.
“It's imperative that Israel act in accordance with international humanitarian law and the laws of war, even when confronting a terrorist group that respects neither,” Blinken said at a press conference Thursday in Tel Aviv.
Blinken said Netanyahu "agreed with the need for this approach" to protect civilians and that the Israeli government offered "concrete steps" to do so.
Blinken said Israel must avoid “further significant displacement of civilians inside of Gaza," adding that displaced civilians must eventually be allowed to return.
“There must be no enduring internal displacement,” Blinken said.
Blinken also said Israel should avoid damage to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, power stations and water facilities.
“Ultimately, that's not just the right thing to do,” Blinken said, and he added that “it's also in Israel's security interest.”