update deskIsrael at War

White House: Israel and Hamas agree to two-day extension of truce

There was no immediate confirmation from Jerusalem.

People in Jerusalem walk next to pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
People in Jerusalem walk next to pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the ceasefire-for-hostages agreement by two days, U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said on Monday evening.

“The humanitarian pause in Gaza, now in its fourth day, will be extended for another two days, through Thursday morning Israel time,” Kirby told journalists during a briefing.

“In order to extend the pause, Hamas has committed to releasing another 20 women and children,” added the spokesman.

The announcement came shortly after a spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that “as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.”

Doha’s statement announcing the “humanitarian truce,” which was posted to X (formerly Twitter), was subsequently amended to read “humanitarian pause.”

There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.

The announcement came shortly after a top aide to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that they were close to forging a deal.

‘Information isn’t being released yet

The two-day extension would include the release of 20 Israeli hostages, said Diaa Rashwan, head of Cairo’s State Information Service, according to Reuters. In return, Israel would release 60 Palestinian terrorists.

Jerusalem is not publicly discussing whether the four-day ceasefire with Hamas will be extended, or, if not, when it will officially end, the Prime Minister’s Office told JNS earlier on Monday evening.

“This information isn’t being released yet,” the PMO stated in a response.

Earlier on Monday, The Wall Street Journal cited Egyptian and Qatari mediators as saying they expect the agreement to be extended by at least another day as they continue to negotiate for a longer pause.

Hamas wants the ceasefire to be extended by four days in exchange for additional hostages, but Jerusalem prefers a day-by-day extension, the newspaper reported, citing officials familiar with the negotiations.

On the first three days of the four-day ceasefire that began on Friday morning, Hamas freed 40 Israeli civilians, all women and children except for one male dual Russian national.

Hamas also released 19 foreign nationals as part of a separate deal with Thailand.

In addition to temporarily pausing its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, Israel has released 117 female and teenage Palestinian security prisoners.

Hamas kidnapped some 240 people during its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel, during which thousands of heavily armed gunmen murdered 1,200 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.

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