Israel-Hamas Truce Will Continue, Release of More Hostages Sought

Hamas Military Wing/Handout via Reuters
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, as part of a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel amid a temporary truce, in an unknown location in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel and Hamas agreed on Thursday to extend the ceasefire in their war by at least one more day, minutes before the six-day truce was due to expire.

Israel’s military said in a statement the truce will continue as mediators sought to release more hostages held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

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 Oct. 7.

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, said the Israeli statement, released minutes before the temporary truce was due to expire.

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.

Israel has sworn to annihilate Hamas, which rules Gaza, in response tothe Oct. 7 rampage by the militant group, when Israel says gunmen killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.

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.