Truce between Israel and Hamas extended for two days

A truce between Israel and Hamas will be extended by two days, mediator Qatar said hours before the pause was due to end Tuesday, as more hostages were freed from Gaza in exchange for the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners.

“The Palestinian and Israeli sides have reached an agreement to extend the humanitarian pause in Gaza for two additional days under the same conditions,” Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Militant group Hamas also confirmed the extension and Israeli media reported the government had received a new list of 10 more hostages who would be freed. However there was no official word from Israel.

The news of the extension came as 11 more hostages were freed from Gaza overnight, along with the release of another 33 Palestinian prisoners — the last exchange under the existing deal.

The extension of the truce, which had been scheduled to end at 7:00am (0500 GMT), was welcomed internationally.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called it “a glimpse of hope and humanity in the middle of the darkness of war”.

The truce paused fighting that began when Hamas militants poured over the border into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping dozens, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s retaliatory ground and air operation in Gaza has killed almost 15,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the territory’s Hamas government.

Late Monday, 11 hostages arrived in Israel, the country’s military said.

“Our forces will accompany them until they are reunited with their families,” it said in a statement, adding that the military “salutes and embraces the released hostages upon their return home”.

Most of the groups are dual nationals, with Argentinians, Germans and French among those released, and all 11 were from the Nir Oz kibbutz, the community said.

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Comfort Samuel

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