An extended humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been confirmed, maintaining peace momentarily as the previous six-day truce neared its end.
This announcement, made on X (formerly Twitter) by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), arrived just minutes before the original ceasefire’s expiration.
Gaza ceasefire extended with unchanged terms
The IDF stated, “The operational pause will continue in light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework.”
The ceasefire’s conditions, including a halt to hostilities and allowing humanitarian aid, remain unchanged, as confirmed by a spokesperson from Qatar’s foreign ministry.
Majid bin Muhammad Al-Ansari, the Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman, mentioned that extending the truce for an additional day was agreed upon “under the same previous terms.”
He further indicated the agreement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to extend the truce in Gaza.
Qatar mediates for lasting ceasefire, aid in Gaza
Qatar, playing a significant role in the negotiations, continues to seek a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, where Hamas governs. Israel, on the other hand, has expressed intentions to resume military operations against Hamas in Gaza post-truce.
This ceasefire extension crucially allows for further negotiations regarding the exchange of Israeli hostages, taken by Hamas terrorists, for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Throughout the ceasefire, substantial humanitarian aid has been delivered to Gaza from Egypt. This aid comes in the wake of evacuations of 2.3 million people and a military offensive responding to Hamas’ attacks in southern Israel.
Progress in hostage exchange between Israel and Hamas
On Wednesday, a significant development occurred, with Hamas releasing 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office revealed new developments regarding the hostage situation.
Hamas provided a list of women and children hostages for release, and their families have been duly informed.
“A short while ago, Israel received a list of women and children, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore, the pause will resume,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s office said.
Israel-Hamas ceasefire tied to hostage release conditions
A condition set by an Israeli official requires the ceasefire to be extended by one day for every 10 Israeli hostages released.
Meanwhile, Hamas accused Israel of rejecting their offer to release seven women and children and the bodies of three deceased hostages among the ten they would release.
The deaths of these three hostages, including 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, were attributed by Hamas to Israel’s bombardment.
Israel, Hamas on edge despite ceasefire, hostage releases
Despite the truce, both parties had previously expressed readiness to resume hostilities. A Reuters report notes that 97 hostages have been freed since the truce began, with 145 remaining in Gaza.
In a recent development, six foreign citizens were released independently of the agreement.
Israel remains firm in its resolve to counter Hamas following the group’s lethal attack on October 7. This attack resulted in 1,200 fatalities and the capture of 240 hostages.
International efforts intensify for Gaza ceasefire, humanitarian aid
Israel’s subsequent seven-week bombardment in Gaza led to over 15,000 Palestinian casualties, as per Hamas-led health authorities.
International efforts to extend the truce have been evident, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting Tel Aviv and President Joe Biden emphasizing the return of all hostages and aid to Gaza’s civilians.
The U.S. is advocating for Israel to minimize civilian casualties in southern Gaza operations. Concurrently, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a looming humanitarian disaster in Gaza, advocating for a permanent ceasefire.