Hamas Releases Two Hostages, Google Maps Goes Offline In Gaza As Israel Prepares Ground Offensive

Zinger Key Points
  • Two Israeli hostages released in Egypt, with Hamas citing "humanitarian efforts."
  • Israel-Hamas conflict intensifies as IDF prepares for Gaza offensive.
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Two Israeli hostages, Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were released at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Monday. This release follows their abduction from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz, along with their husbands.

The release is attributed to intensive diplomatic efforts by Egypt and the involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which announced the hostage release.

Hamas cited “humanitarian reasons” for the release." Israel said it played no direct role in the process. On Friday, Hamas freed Americans Judith and Natalie Raanan, who had initially been among approximately 200 individuals abducted from southern Israel Oct. 7.

Israel-Hamas War: The Latest Developments

  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi announced the readiness of Israeli ground forces for a potential offensive in the Gaza Strip. Halevi emphasized the objective of destroying Hamas, targeting its leadership, military wing and infrastructure.
  • Sources cited by Bloomberg suggest that Israel’s top officials are under increased pressure due to various concerns related to Hezbollah’s involvement from Lebanon in the north, the fate of approximately 200 hostages in Gaza and the risk of Israeli military casualties.
  • Alphabet Inc. GOOG GOOGL 's Google has temporarily disabled live traffic conditions in Israel and the Gaza Strip for its Maps and Waze apps at the request of the Israeli military. This move comes ahead of a potential ground invasion into Gaza.
  • The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the Middle East situation on Tuesday, indicating growing international concern over the ongoing conflict.

Market Reactions

The Israeli shekel ended flat for the day, snapping a 10-day losing streak that had started Oct. 9 in response to Hamas’ attacks over the weekend.

The iShares MSCI Israel ETF EIS fell 2.1%, marking its ninth straight day of declines and ending at the lowest level since April 2020.

Wall Street ended Monday’s trading session with a noticeable shift in sentiment.

After witnessing gains earlier in the session, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY ultimately closed 0.2% lower, marking its fourth consecutive session of losses.

While tech stocks saw some gains trimmed, they managed to finish in positive territory, with the Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ posting a 0.3% gain.

Of particular note were the “magnificent seven,” with NVIDIA Corp. NVDA surging by 3.8%, marking its most favorable session since late August.

In the cryptocurrency arena, Bitcoin BTC/USD experienced a robust rally, rising by 5.4%. This surge was fueled by positive developments related to the pending Grayscale Bitcoin ETF.

In the bond market, Treasury yields witnessed widespread declines on Monday. The 10-year yield dropped by nearly 7 basis points to 4.85%, while the 30-year yield decreased by 8 basis points to 5%, following the announcement by legendary hedge fund investor Bill Ackman that he had closed his short positions on U.S. bonds. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF TLT saw a notable 1.2% increase in response.

Read now: Why NVIDIA Stock Gained Today

Photo via Shutterstock.

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