Palestinians walk through damaged buildings in Gaza City.
The two-day extension of the truce, following the successful conclusion of a late-night release of captives, saw the return of 50 Israeli women and children from captivity in Gaza, plus dozens of other nationals according to officials on Monday. The initial four-day pause, which was hard-negotiated, has now been extended.
Hamas freed eleven Israelis on Monday, confirmed by the Red Cross and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), bringing the number of freed hostages to 69. The truce also saw the release of thirty-three Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons and the arrival of several dozen truckloads of aid to the besieged enclave, marking the first respite for Palestinians in nearly two months of war.
Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, confirmed in a statement that the truce extension had been agreed upon, drawing quick welcomes from leaders in Israel and the US.