Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s office said in a statement that ‘a short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue.’
The truce was set to expire Thursday morning. Negotiations on extending it came down to the wire, with last-minute disagreements over the hostages to be freed by Hamas in exchange for another day of a halt in fighting.
‘In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the abductees and subject to the terms of the agreement, the ceasefire will continue,’ they wrote in Hebrew.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry said the truce was being extended under the same terms as in the past, under which Hamas has released 10 Israeli hostages per day in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners.
With just minutes to go before a six-day ceasefire was set to expire, Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to continue the pause in an effort to free the remaining hostages
International mediators had been working to extend the truce in Gaza, encouraging Hamas terrorists to keep freeing hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and further relief from Israel’s air and ground offensive.
Ninety-seven hostages have been freed since the start of the truce, according to a Reuters tally. The Israeli military says 145 hostages remain in Gaza.
Last night, the Israeli military said Hamas handed over twelve Israeli and four Thai hostages on the sixth day of the temporary ceasefire.
The truce, extended from its initial four days, has brought the first respite in the bombardment of Gaza with much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million having been reduced to wasteland in response to a deadly rampage by Hamas militants into southern Israel on October 7.
Hamas, which freed 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday, said in a statement that the truce would continue for a seventh day.
The militant group earlier said Israel had refused to receive a further seven women and children and the bodies of three other hostages in exchange for extending the truce.
Both sides had said they were ready to resume fighting.
Netanyahu underscored on Wednesday that Israel will resume its campaign to eliminate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years and orchestrated the deadly attack on Israel that triggered the war.
Netanyahu underscored on Wednesday that Israel will resume its campaign to eliminate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years and orchestrated the deadly attack on Israel that triggered the war
Hamas’ military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades are present as the prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas
A helicopter carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas arrives in Petah Tikva
Military personnel talk with each other as a helicopter carrying hostages released amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal
‘After this phase of returning our abductees is exhausted, will Israel return to fighting? So my answer is an unequivocal yes,’ he said. ‘There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end.’
He spoke ahead of a visit to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press for further extensions of the truce and hostage releases. Blinken arrived in Israel late Wednesday.
Before the truce, Israel bombarded the territory for seven weeks and killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the coastal strip.
Israel has welcomed the release of dozens of hostages in recent days and says it will maintain the truce if Hamas keeps freeing captives.
However, Israel has vowed to resume the war in an effort to end Hamas’ 16-year rule of Gaza, but it’s facing mounting international pressure to extend the truce and spare southern Gaza a devastating ground offensive like the one that has demolished much of the north.
Hamas’ ability to negotiate and implement the ceasefire suggests that Israel’s air and ground campaigns have not seriously challenged the group’s control of Gaza, despite killing thousands of Palestinians and driving three out of four people in the territory from their homes.
Hostages who were abducted by Hamas gunmen during the October 7 attack on Israel are handed over by Hamas militants to the International Red Cross
A helicopter carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas lands at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan
Newly released Israeli hostages sit among soldiers as they arrive inside a van at Ofakim army base in southern Israel
Those who have been released now face a long road to overcoming the trauma of their extended captivity in Gaza.
The father of Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli who was held hostage by Hamas for 50 days, has vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help his nine-year-old daughter recover after revealing how she spent her ninth birthday running from missile strikes in Gaza.
Four days after his daughter’s emotional release, Mr Hand told The Sun: ‘She was a happy noisy kid, now she whispers. She’s been terrorised by terrorists in hell but as her dad it’s my job to make it better and I will.’