Israel and Hamas to extend ceasefire by two days

As the ceasefire draws to a close, worldwide pressure has led many to advocate for an extension. Since the ceasefire’s beginning on Friday, both Israel and Hamas have agreed to swap 50 of Hamas’s hostages with 150 Palestinian prisoners. Currently, 58 Hamas hostages have been released while 117 of its Palestinian prisoners have been.

Egypt had alleged that negotiators were close to an extension agreement. Thankfully, it seems that those negotiations were worthwhile.

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari, who alongside Egypt were the ones who helped broker the ceasefire, announced a two-day extension on the ceasefire late Monday morning.

According to Al-Ansari, Hamas had agreed to extend the ceasefire “under the same conditions reached before.” This reportedly comes after a call on Monday held by the prime minister of Qatar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

As per the original ceasefire agreement, at least 50 Hamas hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners would have to be released. For the ceasefire to be extended, Israel has said Hamas would need to release 10 more of its hostages for an additional day.

According to NBC, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced that Hamas would be freeing an additional 20 hostages, mainly women and children.

The Biden administration has grown increasingly in favor of expanding the ceasefire, mainly because the fighting has affected civilians trapped in Gaza.

In a meeting with Biden on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “would welcome” a ceasefire extension only if the current terms were followed, adding that his dedication towards Hamas’s eraser was still a top priority.

“At the same time, I also told President Biden that at the end of the outline, we will go to realizing our goals with full force: Eliminating Hamas, ensuring that Gaza will not go back to being what it was and — of course — releasing all of our hostages,” he said.

The Israel-Hamas War has undoubtedly caused a humanitarian crisis within Gaza and an unimaginable loss of life. Thanks to the ceasefire, alongside the release of hostages, hundreds of additional aid trucks have flooded in towards affected areas in North Gaza.

This recent extension agreement could mean more aid towards Gaza and hopefully, an eventual end to the conflict entirely.

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