Militant group Hamas released two Israeli hostages Monday who were abducted earlier this month. A total of four hostages have been released since Hamas kidnapped over 200 people, starting Oct. 7.

Gaza reports that more than 5,000 people and 15,000 people have been injured since the initial attacks earlier this month. Israel reports that at least 1,400 people have been killed, per CNBC.

Here are updates on this and four other incidents transpiring in the Israel and Palestine conflict.

1. The Hamas hostage situation

Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were released Monday while their husbands remain in custody of Hamas Monday. The group said it released the Israeli women for “humanitarian and health reasons,” The New York Times reported.

“We are truly hoping that this is just the beginning of the release of all the remaining hostages,” Lifshitz grandson, Daniel Lifshitz told reporters, per the Times.

Yocheved Lifshitz, left, and Nurit Cooper, who were held as hostage by Palestinian Hamas militants, are seen in these undated handout photo combination. The International Committee of the Red Cross says Hamas militants have released both Lifshitz and Cooper it had been holding captive in the Gaza Strip. | Hostages and Missing Families Forum via Associated Press

Their release came shortly after the Israeli military reported an increase in the number of those being held hostage to 222 people — it previously said 212 people were currently kidnapped by the group, per the Times.

The group released two Americans — a mother and daughter — on Friday. Judith, 59, and Natalie, 17, both have dual Israeli-American citizenship were visiting family in southern Israel for a relative’s birthday and celebrate the Jewish holidays from Evanston, Illinois, when they were abducted.

“We don’t have the privilege to be happy or to celebrate. We don’t have the privilege to mourn,” Ayelet Sella, a cousin to the family told ABC News. “We cannot rest. Getting Judith and Natalie back, it is not the end. It is the beginning.”

President Joe Biden has said returning captive hostages is a top priority. On Monday, he said he refused to consider supporting a ceasefire until every single hostage is released, according to USA Today.

“We should have those hostages released and then we can talk,” Biden said, per USA Today.

He also called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution, he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity, and peace.”

2. Aid trucks reach Gaza

The first trucks delivering aid to Gaza arrived Saturday — “two weeks after Israel launched a complete siege of the enclave” following the Hamas attacks, CNN reported.

Egyptian authorities said there were 13 trucks equipped with medicine and medical supplies, five that had food and two were carrying water. The aid comes at a critical time, but the World Health Organization said hospitals were getting to a “breaking point,” and that much more aid is needed to address the devastation in the region, per CNN.

United Nations and Red Crescent workers prepare the aid for distribution to Palestinians at UNRWA warehouse in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. | Hassan Eslaiah, Associated Press

“With this convoy, the international community is beginning to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that has left residents of Gaza without access to sufficient food, water, medical care, and safe shelter,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, per USA Today. “We urge all parties to keep the Rafah crossing open to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza.”

3. Israel says it will continue strikes in the region

The Israeli military performed an airstrike on a mosque in the West Bank Sunday, killing at least two people.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the strike marks a “dangerous escalation in the use of warplanes,” in a statement per the Times.

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Israeli forces have also intensified strikes on Syria and Lebanon in recent months, saying it was doing so in response to increasing attacks from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia in southern Lebanon. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hezbollah that decided to join the war that it would cause “devastating consequences to Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon,” the Times reported. He added, “We’ll hit it with a force it can’t even imagine.”

4. US leaders discuss Israel plans for ground offensive in Gaza

Israel Defense Forces performed a “variety of training exercises in order to improve the forces’ readiness and capabilities for ground operations in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military told CNBC.

The Biden administration sent multiple U.S. military leaders, including a Marine three-star general, to Israel to be briefed on Israel’s plans, Axios reported.

Lt. Gen. James Glynn and the other military officers will be there to “provide military advice to the IDF about its plans in Gaza,” per Axios.

“We have asked several officials with relevant experience simply to help Israeli officials think through the difficult questions ahead and explore their options. The IDF will, as always, make its own decisions,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Axios.

One official pressed Israeli military leaders to delay a ground offensive, in order to try bargaining for the release of the rest of the hostages, but said it was unsure how much it would “move the needle” on Israeli strategy, The Associated Press reported.

5. Gaza hospital explosion coverage

An explosion took place at a hospital in a Christian-run hospital in the center of the Gaza Strip Wednesday that had international governments, news organizations and people around the world confused. Hamas blamed the attack on an Israeli strike, while Israel blamed a rocket misfire from Gaza for the deadly explosion that killed more than 300 people.

Initial reports from Israel military and U.S. officials point to the blast being caused by a rocket misfire from within Gaza. AP also analyzed videos and speculates “the hospital explosion was most likely caused when part of that rocket crashed to the ground” from within Palestinian territory.

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The United Kingdom joins other Western leaders in pointing to the cause of the explosion coming from a Palestinian rocket misfire.

“Some Arab commentators have pointed out that even if it could be proved Israel was not responsible for this particular blast, it does not change the fact that thousands of civilians have died and over a million have been displaced by Israel’s massive response to the horrific raid by Hamas into southern Israel on 7 October,” BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner writes.

There are concerns that leaders in the Arab region “do not trust the word of any country that pledges its full support for Israel,” and protests have erupted in multiple nearby countries calling for a ceasefire in the region, Gardner reports.

Correction: Previous reporting indicated four American hostages had been released, but reports now say only two were American. The headline has also been updated to reflect this reporting.

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