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Israel-Hamas war live updates: Hamas leader says ‘we are close to reaching a truce agreement’ with Israel

Ruxandra Iordache

This is CNBC’s live blog tracking developments on the Israel-Hamas war.

A grab from an AFPTV video shows an Israeli armored vehicle rolling past Palestinians fleeing Gaza City on foot on Nov. 18, 2023.
Belal Al Sabbagh | Afp | Getty Images

Hamas and Israel are “close to reaching a truce agreement” despite ongoing hostilities, said the Palestinian militant group’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

Another Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, said ongoing talks focused on an exchange of women and children held by both Israel and the Palestinian militant group. That would mean Palestinian women and children held in Israeli detention also being released. Israel has not responded to the comments.

Meanwhile, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson supplied further commentary on the military’s findings at the raided Al-Shifa hospital. In a video update, the IDF’s Jonathan Conricus played footage appearing to show a tunnel shaft on the premises of what he said was the Al-Shifa medical complex.

Medical staff and Hamas previously denied that the Palestinian militant group carries out operations at Al-Shifa. Israel has faced considerable international pressure to produce evidence of Hamas presence at the hospital and justify its ground incursion against a civilian site.

More CNBC coverage of the Israel-Hamas war

  • Israel-Hamas hostage deal could come this week — here’s what we know
  • What is Gaza’s Ministry of Health and how does it calculate the war’s death toll?
  • Why Israel’s long war ahead in Gaza will be nothing like what it’s faced before
  • Where Hamas gets its money and why it’s hard to stop, even as the U.S. steps up

Israeli military encircles Jabalia area

Israel’s military has completely encircled the area of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, and “vandals were eliminated and infrastructure destroyed,” an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson for Arab media said.

The IDF attacked “terrorist targets” with the help of aircraft and drones, as well as “three underground holes” where enemies were present, Avichay Adraee said in a Google-translated post on X, formerly known as Twitter. IDF tanks and ground forces were also deployed.

“During the activity, the fighters eliminated saboteurs with air support, and seized enemy weapons in several places, including residential homes and children’s rooms, and destroyed tunnel openings,” according to the update.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground. According to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, Jabalia holds the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli military says Al-Shifa has been under Hamas control for ‘many years’

Israeli Army spokesperson for international media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

An Israel Defence Forces spokesperson supplied further commentary on the military’s findings at the raided Al-Shifa hospital.

In a video update, the IDF’s Jonathan Conricus played footage appearing to show a tunnel shaft on the premises of what he said was the Al-Shifa medical complex, as well as replaying clips alleging to show Hamas taking hostages into the facility. CNBC could not independently verify the video.

“Shifa is an important part, even a vital part of Hamas military infrastructure, both above ground and below ground. They have controlled that area for many years,” Conricus said, stressing it is unlikely Hamas only took hostages to the hospital for treatment, as one featured captive was being frogmarched and there were several other medical facilities that could assist closer to the Israeli border.

He said that there were several “no-go” areas in the hospital and that medical staff were aware of a Hamas presence on the premises.

Medical staff and Hamas have previously denied that the Palestinian militant group carries out operations at Al-Shifa. Israel has faced considerable international pressure to produce evidence of Hamas presence at the hospital and justify its ground incursion against a civilian site.

Ruxandra Iordache

Hamas says ‘close to reaching a truce agreement’ with Israel

Hamas and Israel are “close to reaching a truce agreement” despite ongoing hostilities, the Palestinian militant group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

While Haniyeh supplied no further details, a Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, said that ongoing talks focused on an equal exchange of women and children. He added that Qatari mediators will announce any final agreement.

Hamas took nearly 240 captives during the terror attacks of Oct. 7, of whom 237 remain alive.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinian militant group have been stymied by largely conflicting starting positions: Israel has previously mandated a cease-fire can only happen once the captives held by Hamas are released, while Hamas has required a truce to return back its hostages.

Ruxandra Iordache

Survivors mourn for dozens killed in refugee camps

Palestinians carry a person injured in an Israeli strike in Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on November 20, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

In central Gaza, mourners recited funeral prayers as they stood over dozens of bodies recovered after a barrage of Israeli airstrikes that hit two refugee camps Monday.

The bodies, wrapped in white sheets and makeshift plastic body bags, were laid on the ground in the city of Deir Al Balah. Medics said dozens more remain unaccounted for and are believed to be trapped or buried under the rubble of multiple collapsed buildings.

At the scene of the bombing, residents sat in small groups in the rubble next to mangled steel reinforcement bars. The recovered bodies were placed in a truck to be buried nearby.

Palestinians search through the rubble of a collapsed building searching for survivors and victims following the Israeli bombardment of Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on November 20, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.
(Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Associated Press

200 evacuated from Indonesian Hospital in Gaza

About 200 people have been evacuated from a northern Gaza hospital that was caught up in fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants on Monday.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesperson for Hamas’ Health Ministry, said the evacuees from Indonesian Hospital were taken to southern Gaza in a rescue effort coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross. Many of the injured evacuees are being treated at al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, he said.

Between 400 and 500 more wounded people remain at Indonesian Hospital, al-Qudra said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.

The evacuations came after 12 people were killed when a shell struck the second floor of the hospital, according to the Health Ministry and a medical worker at the hospital. Both blamed Israel, which denied shelling the hospital, saying its troops returned fire on militants who targeted them from inside the 3.5-acre compound.

Associated Press

Israeli soldiers transfer detained Palestinian men out of the Gaza Strip

Israeli soldiers detain blindfolded Palestinian men in a military truck while watching Palestinians (not pictured) fleeing the fighting in war-torn Gaza walk by on a road in the Zeitoun district of the southern part of the Gaza Strip on November 19, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Mahmud Hams | Afp | Getty Images
Israeli soldiers detain blindfolded Palestinian men in a military truck while watching Palestinians (not pictured) fleeing the fighting in war-torn Gaza walk by on a road in the Zeitoun district of the southern part of the Gaza Strip on November 19, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue.
Mahmud Hams | Afp | Getty Images
Israeli soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue.
Gil Cohen-magen | AFP | Getty Images

— Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

Biden says he believes a hostage deal will come soon

UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 20: President Joe Biden addresses reporters after pardoning turkeys, Liberty and Bell, from Willmar, Minn., during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday, November 20, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

President Joe Biden, at today’s White House turkey pardoning ceremony, was asked by a reporter if a deal is near to release hostages taken by Hamas.

“I believe so,” he said.

When asked again if he believes so, Biden responded by crossing his fingers and said, “Yes.”

NBC News

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage:

31 babies evacuated from Gaza’s Al-Shifa; Biden says he believes a hostage deal will come soon