Israel-Hamas Truce Extended as Hostage Releases Continue

The truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has been extended by two additional days, as confirmed by Qatar. The extension comes as part of an ongoing agreement where Hamas pledges to release 10 hostages each day. The truce, initially scheduled to end on Monday, has brought relative calm to the war-devastated Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military reported the release of 11 more hostages on Monday, including three-year-old twins and several adults. As per the terms of the agreement, these individuals underwent an initial medical assessment and were accompanied by Israeli forces until reunited with their families.

Hamas has, to date, released a total of 69 hostages out of approximately 240 seized on October 7. In reciprocation, Israel released 33 Palestinian prisoners, greeted by cheering crowds in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The truce extension was announced by Qatar, with support from Egypt, and received expressions of support from both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The White House confirmed the extension, emphasizing the positive impact on delivering humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

Notably, the pause in hostilities has facilitated the release of almost 70 women and children hostages since Friday, with 50 being Israelis and 150 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. The UN utilized the lull in fighting to increase urgent aid deliveries to Gaza, although acknowledging that the consignments are insufficient to meet the population’s dramatic needs.

Despite the extension providing a glimpse of hope and humanity, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that two more days are insufficient to address Gaza’s extensive humanitarian needs.

The truce extension is part of a larger diplomatic breakthrough, marking the first significant progress in the conflict. The ongoing exchanges of hostages and prisoners have been mediated by Qatar, with Hamas committing to releasing an additional 20 women and children over the next two days.

The temporary pause has allowed the people from Gaza to access supplies and assess damages, Israel emphasizes its commitment to addressing security concerns and warns of the possibility of resuming military operations.

As the international community closely watches the unfolding developments, the extension of the truce raises hopes for a more sustainable resolution to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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