Extension of Israel-Hamas Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict by Two Days

Extension of Israel-Hamas Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict by Two Days

Qatar’s mediator announced last night that the truce between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza has been extended by an additional two days, marking a continued pause in the seven-week conflict. The ceasefire, brokered by Qatar and Egypt, has halted a devastating war that claimed thousands of lives and caused extensive destruction in the Palestinian enclave.

A spokesperson from the Qatari foreign ministry shared the news on the social media platform X, stating that an agreement had been reached to prolong the humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip. While there was no immediate comment from Israel, a White House official confirmed the extension.

Under the original ceasefire agreement set to expire last night, 11 Israeli hostages and 33 Palestinians were scheduled for release. The White House expressed hope that two American women might be among those freed from Gaza, where it believes eight or nine U.S. citizens are held captive.

Hamas reported that it had received a list of Palestinians to be released from Israeli jails, including three female prisoners and 30 minors. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office informed the families of hostages set for release on Monday.

The extension of the truce was agreed upon by Hamas, Qatar, and Egypt, the latter two facilitating indirect negotiations between the conflicting parties. The deal mirrored the conditions of the previous truce.

Though the announcements did not specify the exact number of hostages to be released, earlier statements from Egypt’s State Information Service suggested a deal involving the release of 20 Israeli hostages seized during an October 7 assault by Hamas. In return, 60 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would be freed.

The initial ceasefire, established last week, marked the first break in the seven-week conflict initiated by Hamas, resulting in 1,200 casualties and the return of approximately 240 hostages to Gaza, according to Israeli counts. The extension allowed for aid trucks to enter Gaza, providing a temporary relief amid the humanitarian crisis. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres termed the extension a “glimpse of hope and humanity,” emphasizing the ongoing challenges in meeting Gaza’s extensive aid needs within the given timeframe.


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