Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: MOSTAFA ALKHAROUF / ANADOLU / ANADOLU VIA AFP 18:51 p.m., November 27, 2023

On Monday, according to Hamas and Qatar, the truce in Gaza was extended for another 48 hours. An agreement in exchange for the further release of hostages held by terrorists and prisoners held in Israeli jails. Hamas had earlier indicated that it was preparing a new list of hostages to be freed in order to extend the truce in fighting with Israel.

Hamas and Qatar announced on Monday the extension of the truce in Gaza by 48 hours, in exchange for further releases of hostages held by the terrorists and prisoners held in Israeli jails. Israel did not immediately confirm the extension. Hamas, which seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, had earlier said it was preparing a new list of hostages to be freed in order to extend the truce in fighting with Israel.

"An extra day of break"

The truce, which was originally scheduled to end at 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday, also allowed hundreds of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged and devastated by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment in retaliation for Hamas' bloody attack on Israel on October 7. After U.S. President Joe Biden, the European Union and NATO called for its extension. A further respite would "provide more aid to people in dire need and secure the release of more hostages" in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

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Israel on Monday offered Hamas an "option" to extend the truce and "receive 50 more hostages," according to a government spokesman. The release of more hostages is strongly demanded by the Israeli public, traumatized by the Hamas attack. The original agreement called for a four-day truce, the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt, as well as the release of a total of 50 hostages kidnapped on October 7 and 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Israel claimed that beyond the four days, the release of "ten additional hostages" – compared to 30 prisoners – would lead to "an additional day of pause".

'More hostages released'

"There are provisions for the release of 30 more hostages every day and that's a blessing," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday after a meeting with Joe Biden. "But I also told the president that after the agreement we will return to our goal: to eliminate Hamas and make sure that the Gaza Strip is not what it used to be," added Netanyahu, who is due to ask the government for a NIS 7 billion ($3.<> billion) "war" budget on Monday.

The US president said on Sunday that his goal was "to make sure that this pause continues (...) so that we can see more hostages released and more humanitarian aid" delivered to the Gaza Strip. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called for a "lasting" truce in order to work on a "political solution" to the conflict. The families of the Israeli hostages who are due to be freed on Monday night have been informed, the Prime Minister's Office said, at the end of a day of intense negotiations.

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Since Friday, 39 Israeli hostages have been freed as part of the deal, along with 117 Palestinians held by Israel, at a ratio of one hostage to three prisoners. In addition, 19 hostages were freed outside the agreement, the majority of them Thais who were working in Israel. Among the hostages freed on Sunday was a four-year-old girl with U.S. citizenship named Abigail. According to a senior U.S. official, his mother was murdered in front of his eyes during the Hamas attack. Her father tried to protect her before he was killed as well. Abigail then fled to a neighbour's house, where she was taken hostage. Abigail "doesn't have parents anymore, but she has a whole country hugging her. We will take good care of her," Netanyahu vowed.