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Hamas seeks to extend ceasefire by four more days

Talks on a broader deal that would include freeing all of the hostages are reportedly taking place in Qatar.

Yocheved Lipschitz, 85, who was released from Hamas captivity, joins family members and Israelis protest calling for the release of Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside Hakirya base in Tel Aviv, Nov. 28, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Yocheved Lipschitz, 85, who was released from Hamas captivity, joins family members and Israelis protest calling for the release of Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside Hakirya base in Tel Aviv, Nov. 28, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

Hamas is asking for a four-day extension of the ceasefire agreement it reached with Israel on Nov. 24, AFP reported on Wednesday.

“Hamas has informed the mediators that it is willing to extend the truce for four days and that the movement would be able to release Israeli prisoners that it, other resistance movements and other parties hold during this period, according to the terms of the existing truce,” a source told the news agency.

The terror group is believed to be holding enough Israeli women and children in Gaza for the ceasefire to be extended for at least two more days, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Israel has received the list of 10 hostages to be released on Wednesday, and has notified their families.

On Monday, the two sides agreed to extend the ceasefire for up to six days, if Hamas releases 10 Israeli women and children each day. Israel has agreed to free three jailed Palestinian terrorists for each hostage released.

In addition to a pause in fighting, the original deal includes humanitarian aid and fuel entering the Gaza Strip.

A source told the U.S. news network that the terror group could produce a list that would extend the ceasefire for another 24 hours and that negotiators in Qatar believe that there are enough women and children being held for another 24 hour pause after that, before moving on to men and IDF soldiers.

Officials representing Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the United States are involved in the negotiations in Doha.

A total of 60 Israeli women and children, plus one Israeli man, had been freed as of Wednesday, along with 17 Thais and one Filipino.

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

Approximately 165 Israelis and foreigners are still in Hamas captivity, including Kfir Bibas, who was 9 months old when he was taken hostage on Oct. 7 along with his parents and 4-year-old brother. Seven other children are still being held hostage.

According to a report in The Washington Post, citing a source familiar with the talks in Qatar, negotiators have agreed on five categories of hostages after all women and children are freed: men too old for reserve military duty; female soldiers; male reservists; active-duty male soldiers and the bodies of Israelis who died before or during captivity.

The source said that no commitments have been made during the discussions but “there is a willingness on both sides” to reach “a broad deal that would free all Israeli captives in exchange for longer pauses in fighting, release of more Palestinian prisoners and more humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza.”

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