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Israel, Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in last-minute deal

A last-minute deal was reached on Thursday between Israel and Hamas to extend their ceasefire for a seventh day. Washington expressed the hope that the truce may be further extended in order to release additional captives and allow supplies to reach Gaza.

Following seven weeks of Israeli shelling in retribution for a fatal rampage by Hamas militants on October 7, most of Gaza’s 2.3-million-person coastal region was reduced to wasteland. However, the truce has allowed some humanitarian relief to reach Gaza.

However, a deadly shooting in Jerusalem was a potent reminder of the potential for violence to spread.

Israel, which has demanded Hamas release at least 10 hostages per day to keep the ceasefire going, said it received a list at the last minute of those who would go free on Thursday, allowing it to call off plans to resume fighting at dawn.

“In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue,” the Israeli military said in a statement, released minutes before the truce was due to expire at 0500 GMT.

Hamas, which freed 16 hostages on Wednesday while Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners, also said the truce would continue for a seventh day.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his third visit to the Middle East since the war began, said efforts were continuing to prolong the truce.

“We have seen over the last week the very positive development of hostages coming home, being reunited with their families. And that should continue today,” he said during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

“It’s also enabled an increase in humanitarian assistance to go to innocent civilians in Gaza who need it desperately. So this process is producing results. It’s important, and we hope that it can continue.”

So far militants have released 97 hostages during the truce: 70 Israeli women and children, each freed in return for three Palestinian women and teenage detainees, plus 27 foreign hostages freed under parallel agreements with their governments.

With fewer Israeli women and children left in captivity, extending the truce could require setting new terms for the release of Israeli men, including soldiers.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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