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Deal reached to extend Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza by two days (Updated)

palestinians spend time on a beach during the temporary truce in deir al balah in the central gaza strip
Palestinians spend time on a beach during a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams

Mediator Qatar said on Monday a truce between Israeli and Hamas forces in Gaza had been extended by two days, continuing a pause in seven weeks of warfare that has killed thousands and laid waste to the Palestinian enclave.

“An agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip,” a Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson said in a post on social media platform X.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, but a White House official confirmed agreement had been reached.

Hamas also said it had agreed a two-day extension to the truce with Qatar and Egypt, who have been facilitating indirect negotiations between the two sides.

“An agreement has been reached with the brothers in Qatar and Egypt to extend the temporary humanitarian truce by two more days, with the same conditions as in the previous truce,” a Hamas official said in a phone call with Reuters.

None of the announcements specified how many hostages would be released, but earlier the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, had said the deal being negotiated would include the release of 20 Israeli hostages from among those seized by Hamas during its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel. In exchange 60 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would be freed, he said.

The initial four-day truce was due to end on Monday night.

With the release of 11 Israeli hostages expected on Monday, negotiations remain ongoing for the release of 33 Palestinians, Rashwan added.

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

The truce agreed last week was the first halt in fighting in the seven weeks since Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages back into Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

In response to that attack, Israel has bombarded the enclave and mounted a ground offensive in the north. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza health authorities say, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Wide areas of the Hamas-ruled enclave have been flattened by Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardments, and a humanitarian crisis has unfolded as supplies of food, fuel, drinking water and medicine run out.

The truce agreement also allowed for aid trucks to enter Gaza.

On Sunday, Hamas freed 17 people, including a 4-year-old Israeli-American girl, bringing the total number the militant group has released since Friday to 58, including foreigners. Israel freed 39 teenage Palestinian prisoners on Sunday, taking the total number of Palestinians freed under the truce to 117.

Under the terms of the current deal, Hamas is due to release in total 50 Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza. There is no limit in the deal on the number of foreigners it can release.

An Israeli government spokesperson said the total number of hostages still held in Gaza on Monday was 184, including 14 foreigners and 80 Israelis with dual nationality.

An Israeli government spokesperson said the total number of hostages still held in Gaza on Monday was 184, including 14 foreigners and 80 Israelis with dual nationality.

 

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