Israel-Hamas truce extended - RTHK
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Israel-Hamas truce extended

2023-11-30 HKT 13:52
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  • Israel-Hamas truce extended
  • A minibus carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas and Israeli military personnel arrives at the Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan, Israel. Photo: AP
    A minibus carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas and Israeli military personnel arrives at the Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan, Israel. Photo: AP
Israel and Hamas struck a last-minute agreement on Thursday to extend their six-day ceasefire by at least one more day to allow negotiators to keep working on deals to swap hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners.

The truce has allowed much needed humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million was reduced to wasteland in response to a deadly rampage by Hamas militants into southern Israel on October 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," the Israeli military said in a statement, released minutes before the temporary truce was due to expire at 0500 GMT.

Hamas, which freed 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday, said in a statement the truce would continue for a seventh day.

The conditions of the ceasefire, including the halt of hostilities and the entry of humanitarian aid, remain the same, according to a foreign ministry spokesperson from Qatar, which has been a key mediator between the warring sides, along with Egypt and the United States.

"A short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue," the Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Hamas 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.

Hamas had said a family of three Israeli hostages, including the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, had been killed during Israel's bombardment of the enclave.

Before the agreement, both Israel and Hamas had said they were ready to resume fighting.

Ninety-seven hostages have been freed since the start of the truce, according to a Reuters tally. The Israeli military says 145 hostages remain in Gaza.

On Wednesday night, two Russian citizens and four Thai citizens were released outside the framework of the agreement while the 10 Israeli citizens freed included five dual nationals, officials said. They were a Dutch dual citizen, who is also a minor, three German dual citizens and one US dual citizen.

Israel has sworn to annihilate Hamas, which rules Gaza, in response to the October 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. (Reuters)

Israel-Hamas truce extended