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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Gaza truce extended by two days by Israel-Hamas

This development follows a call between US President Joe Biden and the prime minister of Qatar, who played a crucial role in brokering the original four-day truce.

Gaza truce extended by two days by Israel-Hamas

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, announced on Monday that an agreement has been reached to extend the truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas by an additional two days. This development follows a call between US President Joe Biden and the prime minister of Qatar, who played a crucial role in brokering the original four-day truce.

Earlier, Egypt had indicated ongoing efforts to prolong the pause by two days. Hamas confirmed its agreement with Qatar and Egypt to extend the truce under the same conditions previously established.

The international community, including the US, the United Nations, and the European Union, had exerted considerable pressure for an extension of the ceasefire. Concerns were expressed about the potential resumption of Israel’s offensive in Gaza once the existing truce concludes on Tuesday morning.

The likely terms of the extension include the daily release of 10 Israeli hostages held by Hamas, along with the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Additionally, the agreement stipulates the continuous flow of much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Efforts were underway

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby emphasized the US’s hope for an extension, with the responsibility falling on Hamas to release the specified number of hostages each day. President Joe Biden was personally involved in discussions with Israel and Qatar, the primary mediators in the negotiations.

Elon Musk, accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited a kibbutz in southern Israel that had been attacked by Hamas militants on October 7. The Tesla CEO, also the owner of the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), engaged in discussions with families affected by the attacks during visits to their homes.

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While there was no immediate comment from Israel, a White House official confirmed the agreement to extend the truce. Hamas echoed this confirmation, stating an agreement had been reached with Qatar and Egypt to prolong the temporary humanitarian truce for an additional two days, maintaining the same conditions as the previous truce.