Israel and Hamas Agree to Extend Ceasefire as Hostage Negotiations Progress
Stay updated on the latest developments as Israel and Hamas extend ceasefire, working towards releasing hostages in Gaza. Follow the evolving situation closely.
Israel and Hamas have decided to prolong the ceasefire for an additional day. This decision comes amidst ongoing discussions aimed at securing the release of more hostages currently held in Gaza. The initial four-day truce, which was set to expire, has provided a brief respite from the intense conflict that inflicted substantial damage on Gaza, a region housing 2.3 million people, following a violent incursion by Hamas into southern Israel on October 7.
Israel's military conveyed that the ceasefire will persist as long as efforts to release hostages in Gaza continue to advance. The truce, initially established for four days, has allowed a break from the extensive fighting that left much of Gaza devastated.
The official statement from Israel remarked, "In light of the mediators' efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue."
Hamas, having released 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners a day earlier, confirmed that the ceasefire would be extended for a seventh day. Tensions escalated when Hamas claimed that Israel rejected the inclusion of seven additional women and children, as well as the bodies of three other hostages, in the negotiation for extending the truce.
While both sides expressed readiness to resume hostilities, the decision to prolong the truce offers a temporary reprieve. Israel remains resolute in its determination to end Hamas' rule in Gaza following the October 7 incident, where Hamas gunmen purportedly killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.
Prior to the truce, Israel conducted a relentless bombardment of Gaza for seven weeks, resulting in the loss of over 15,000 Palestinian lives, according to health authorities in the region.