Israel Strikes Deal

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( – Raising the prospect of a longer truce amidst their monthslong war, Israel brokered a deal with Hamas, agreeing to extend their existing ceasefire by two days, as announced by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Majed Al Ansari.

This extension, facilitated by Qatar, which hosts leaders of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, aims to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and potentially facilitate further exchanges of Israeli and foreign hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Under the extended ceasefire, the exchange of prisoners and hostages is a crucial component. Israel has agreed to free a total of 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 50 hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack. So far, Israel has released 117 Palestinians, and Hamas has freed 43 hostages. Notably, 4-year-old American girl Avigail Idan, whose parents were killed in the attack, was released by Hamas.

The Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli custody include 30 minors and three women. The Israeli hostages being freed comprise three French citizens, two German citizens, and six Argentinian citizens. These hostages have been transferred to the Red Cross in accordance with the agreement between Israel and Hamas.

The United States and the United Nations have expressed support for this truce extension. U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both welcomed the extension, emphasizing the need for continued humanitarian aid in Gaza and the hope for an extended pause in fighting.

The extension comes in the wake of a devastating conflict that began with Hamas’ deadly attacks on Israel on October 7, resulting in significant civilian casualties and the taking of numerous hostages.

The Israeli self-defense operation targeting terrorists in Gaza City has also resulted in a number of deaths. The ceasefire and its extension represent a critical opportunity to provide relief and aid to those affected in Gaza and to work toward a more stable resolution.