Ceasefire in Gaza extended as hostage negotiations continue

Gaza ceasefire extended as Israel and Hamas look to secure the release of more hostages.

Gaza truce extended, more hostages to be released. (Image Credits: Arab News)
Gaza truce extended, more hostages to be released. (Image Credits: Arab News)

The temporary ceasefire in Gaza has bee extended after the Israel Defense Force and Hamas decided to continue negotiations so as to secure the release of more hostages. The IDF’s official statement came minutes before the official deadline for the end of the truce at 7 am local time.

The IDF said the following on Twitter, “The operational pause will continue in light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework.”

Qatar has been acting as the chief mediator between Israel and Hamas. Confirmations regarding the extension have also come from the Qatari camp, which has reiterated that efforts to bring about a permanent ceasefire continue to be the priority.

The official spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari stated that the extension has been confirmed as a part of the “framework of the joint mediation of the State of Qatar with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America.”

The Office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has also confirmed the extension of the truce. It has also been said that Hamas sent a list of ten hostages, mostly women and children, prior to the end of the truce, which complies with the stipulations of the ceasefire.

In all, Hamas has released 97 hostages since November 24th, which marks the beginning of the truce.

Having said that, 145 hostages remain in the Gaza Strip as hostages, which continues to be a matter of great concern for Israel.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of drone infiltration alerts and rocket sirens in the northern communities of Matat, Dovev and Sassa. These regions are close to the Lebanon border, which is why the IDF is taking every possible precaution. An investigation is underway to confirm what has caused this kerfuffle, considering the fact that no such events have occurred since the beginning of the ceasefire.