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Business News/ News / World/  Israel-Gaza War: Israel and Hamas to extend truce by 2 days, plan to release additional hostages and prisoners
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Israel-Gaza War: Israel and Hamas to extend truce by 2 days, plan to release additional hostages and prisoners

Hamas has now freed 69 hostages out of approximately 240 taken during an incursion into southern Israel.

Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis arrived at her home in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem early on Sunday. (AFP)Premium
Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis arrived at her home in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem early on Sunday. (AFP)

As a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza appeared set to continue for a fifth day on Tuesday, there are expectations that Hamas will release more hostages seized on October 7 in exchange for increased aid and the release of imprisoned Palestinians by Israel, Reuters reported.

As per the report, following the release of 11 Israelis on Monday, Hamas has now freed 69 hostages out of approximately 240 taken during an incursion into southern Israel, resulting in about 1,200 casualties according to Israeli figures.

Early on Tuesday, media affiliated with Hamas reported that Israel had released 30 Palestinian children and three women in the fourth exchange of the truce. Outside Israel's Ofer prison near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, a crowd of Palestinians, waving Palestinian, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad flags, gathered in anticipation of the release of more Palestinians. Reports from Palestinians indicated that the Israeli army had used tear gas on the crowd, Reuters reported.

Also Read: Israel under international pressure to extend ceasefire with Hamas

Following the October 7 attack, Israel has carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and initiated a ground offensive in the north. According to Gaza's Hamas-run government, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

As per Reuters, Qatar, in collaboration with Egypt, has facilitated indirect negotiations between the two parties. Qatar announced an agreement to extend the original four-day truce, set to expire on Monday, by an additional two days.

"We have an extension ... two more days," Qatar's UN Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani told reporters after a closed-door UN Security Council meeting, saying both sides were to release more people. “This is a very positive step."

Also Read: Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza extended by two more days, announces Qatar

During the four-day truce that began on Friday, Hamas has been releasing hostages daily, and Israel, in turn, has freed some of the Palestinians it holds. Israel had previously stated that it would extend the truce by one day for every 10 additional hostages released.

This temporary halt in hostilities provides some relief to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from the devastating war that has resulted in thousands of casualties and widespread destruction in the enclave.

Also Read: Biden ignored warning on 'Hamas beheading babies' claim in Israel-Gaza war: Report

Israel has not officially commented on extending the truce, but there is a potential indication of agreement. The Israeli prime minister's office has announced the government's approval to add 50 female prisoners to the list of Palestinians eligible for release if more Israeli hostages are freed.

As part of the existing four-day truce agreement, Hamas was expected to release a total of 50 Israeli women and children held in Gaza, with no specified limit on the release of foreigners.

Reuters reported that a senior US official said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would visit Israel, the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates this week to discuss sustaining aid flows to Gaza and freeing all hostages as well as US principles for the future of Gaza and the need for an independent Palestinian state.

Also Read: Elon Musk meets Israeli minister, agrees to provide Starlink services in Gaza, but …

The exact number of hostages to be released under the extended truce agreement remains uncertain. However, Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt's State Information Service, previously mentioned that the negotiated deal would involve the release of 20 Israeli hostages and 60 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails.

As reported by AFP, the decision to extend the truce followed appeals for a prolonged cessation of hostilities from US President Joe Biden, leading EU envoy Josep Borrell, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In the initial four-day period, the agreement involved the exchange of a total of 50 hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 28 Nov 2023, 06:30 AM IST
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