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Israel/Hamas war: Ceasefire to be announced in coming hours

A Hamas official said Tuesday that a ceasefire agreement with Israel would be announced in the coming hours in Qatar.

The official, who requested to remain anonymous, spoke with Xinhua.

“We are close to reaching an agreement in the coming hours, and the movement has delivered its response to the mediators.’’

Another Hamas source said, “the agreement will be announced in Qatar, and it may be soon, and its success is linked to the commitment of the Israeli side.”

The ceasefire deal, said the sources, would last for five days and would include the release of 50 civilians and foreign nationals held by Hamas in exchange for the release of 300 Palestinian detainees.

This would include children and women, held by Israel.

The deal also included the entry of 300 trucks of food, medical and fuel aid into the Gaza Strip.

The sources indicated that the release of prisoners would take place in stages, at a rate of 10 Israeli prisoners per day compared with that of 30 Palestinian prisoners.


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Sierra Leone Government Arrests Gunmen ‘who attacked Barracks’ in Alleged Coup Attempt

Sierra Leone says its security forces have restored calm to the West African nation after armed men attacked the military barracks on Sunday.

Chernor Bah, the country’s minister of information and civic education, said “unidentified individuals” attacked the barracks which house several foreign embassies, including those of China, Germany, Austria, Gambia, Lebanon and Syria, resulting in a nationwide curfew.

Prisoners also escaped from a detention facility after a coordinated jailbreak orchestrated by the unknown gunmen.

In an address on Sunday night, Julius Bio, president of Sierra Leone, said most of the leaders of the attack have been arrested.

Although Bio refrained from describing the attack as a coup, he labelled them an attempt to undermine the stability the country has worked hard to achieve.

“The attackers have been repelled by a combined team of gallant security forces and calm has been restored,” the president said.

“Most of the leaders have been arrested, and security operations and investigations are ongoing. We will ensure that those responsible are held accountable through due process.

“I acknowledge the bravery and dedication of our armed forces, police, and all those who played a role to defeat this attempt to undermine the peace and stability we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

Bio asked citizens to be reminded of national unity and advised that “everyone remain vigilant and cooperate with the security forces”.

In another statement, the minister of information and civic education said a new curfew would be imposed from 9 pm to 6 am local time till further notice.

Sierra Leone has been engulfed by a tense political climate since Bio was re-elected in June.

The result of the election was rejected by the opposition candidate and questioned by international partners, including the US and European Union, who said the polls lacked transparency.

The unrest in Sierra Leone comes in the wake of a flurry of military coups in West and Central Africa since 2021.

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Curfew: Sierra Leone aviation authority reschedules flights for departing airlines

The Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) has imposed a rescheduling of flights for departing airlines.

In a statement on Sunday by the Management of SLCAA, the authority said the rescheduling of the flights is in view of the nationwide curfew imposed by the government.

“SLCAA is aware that passengers intending to depart from and arrive at the Freetown International Airport (FNA) on flights scheduled for today, Sunday Nov. 26, 2023 are affected by the nationwide curfew declared by the state and currently in force,” the authority said.

SLCAA urged all airlines to reschedule departing passengers on the next available flights after the curfew is lifted, “as SLCAA airspace remains open.”

“While we appreciate the inconvenience this may cause, we urge all to respect the curfew and follow directives of the state security forces.

“The SLCAA assured the airlines and the wilder aviation industry of its unflinching support,” the authority added in the statement. (NAN)

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Pope Francis Welcomes Truce, Hostage Release In The Middle East

Pope Francis on Sunday, November 26, 2023, welcomed a truce that has seen some hostages set free in the Middle East and prayed for further releases.

“Today we thank God because there is finally a truce between Israel and Palestine and some hostages have been freed,” the Argentinian pontiff said in a statement read by a Vatican official at the weekly Angelus prayer.

“We pray that they all may be (freed) as rapidly as possible and that more humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza and that they insist on dialogue,” the 86-year-old leader of the Catholic Church added in response to the release Friday and Saturday by Hamas to the Red Cross of 41 Israeli and non-Israeli hostages detained seven weeks ago, while Israel freed 78 Palestinian prisoners.

Dialogue “is the only way, the only path to peace. Those who do not want to hold a dialogue do not want peace,” Francis concluded.
The truce, a four-day pause to fighting brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, provides for Hamas releasing 50 hostages in exchange for the release by Israel of 150 Palestinian prisoners.
Hamas took about 240 captives from southern Israel in an unprecedented October 7 attack that Israeli officials say killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians.
In response, Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas, which the United States, the European Union and Israel dub a terrorist organisation. It unleashed an aerial bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza that the Hamas government says has killed nearly 15,000 people, also mostly civilians and some 6,000 minors.
Francis had a colleague read his statement as he recited Sunday’s Angelus prayer from his Casa Santa Marta residence rather than overlooking St Peter’s Square as he deals with a mild bout of flu, the Vatican press service said.
The prayer was broadcast live on screens in St Peter’s Square and streamed on the Vatican News website.
The pope was recuperating a day after he had a CT scan which ruled out pulmonary complications and cancelled audiences for the day as the Vatican said he was getting over a “light flu”.
Francis is scheduled to make a much anticipated speech at the UN climate summit in Dubai next Saturday. He is expected to criticise the inaction of many governments and urge them to intensify efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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