(CTN News) – On Thursday, at the last minute, Israel and Hamas reached an agreement to prolong their six-day truce by one more day. This will enable negotiators to continue working on arrangements to exchange Palestinian detainees for hostages held in Gaza.
Following Israel’s bombardment of the 2.3 million-strong coastal region in reaction to a murderous rampage by Hamas militants on October 7, the ceasefire has enabled much-needed humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza.
A statement sent by the Israeli military just minutes before the temporary truce was supposed to end at 0500 GMT said, “The operational pause will continue” due to the mediators’ attempts to keep the captives’ release process going according to the provisions of the framework.
In a statement, Hamas said that the ceasefire will extend for another seven days, following Wednesday’s exchange of thirty Palestinian inmates for sixteen hostages.
A representative from the Qatari foreign ministry confirmed that the terms of the ceasefire, which include the reduction of hostilities and the introduction of humanitarian assistance, had not changed. The United States, Egypt, and Qatar have all played important roles as mediators between the warring parties.
On Thursday, a shooting attack in Jerusalem left at least six people wounded, according to Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service.
Officials stated that two individuals wanted for assault “were neutralised on the spot.”
Negotiations on the release of the next group of hostages reached a deadlock before the deal, and both Israel and Hamas had previously stated their intention to resume warfare.
A statement from the office of the Israeli prime minister read: “A brief while ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue.” This came moments before the truce was supposed to expire.
According to Hamas, Israel turned down an offer to extend the truce in exchange for three more captives’ bodies and seven more women and children.
The Israeli bombing of the enclave murdered three Israeli hostages, according to Hamas. The youngest hostage, Kfir Bibas, was 10 months old, and the family was slaughtered. Hamas did not specify who was killed.
Israel claims that militants from the Gaza Strip massacred 1,200 people and abducted 240 more on October 7, prompting the Israeli government to vow vengeance by destroying the Hamas government.
Israeli bombing of the area lasted seven weeks before the truce, and health officials in the coastal strip said that over fifteen thousand Palestinians were dead.
American Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv earlier on Thursday, making his third visit to the area since the October 7 attack. He is expected to hold discussions over the extension of the ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, and the exchange of further detainees.
By the end of the truce, 97 hostages had been released, according to a Reuters count. There are still 145 hostages in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
On Wednesday night, 5 dual nationals were among the 10 Israelis released, while 2 Russians and 4 Thais were released outside the agreement’s boundaries, according to officials. There was a small Dutch dual citizen along with one American and three Germans.
According to a statement released by the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden is resolute in his mission to ensure the release of all hostages held by Hamas following the liberation of American Liat Beinin on Wednesday.
U.S. officials stated on Wednesday that to avoid a recurrence of the enormous casualties caused by Israel’s attacks on northern Gaza, the United States is requesting that Israel reduce the area of conflict and make it clear where Palestinian civilians might find shelter during any Israeli operation in southern Gaza.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the situation in the Gaza Strip, calling it a “epic humanitarian catastrophe,” and joined others in calling for a permanent ceasefire to replace the interim one.
On Thursday, official media in Jordan announced that the top United Nations, regional, and international relief agencies will gather at the country’s headquarters to coordinate help for Gaza.
China urged the Security Council to establish a “concrete” schedule and plan for a two-state solution to reach a “comprehensive, just and lasting” peace deal with the Palestinians on Thursday.