A source close to Hamas says the terror group is willing to extend by an additional four days a Gaza truce that has seen Israeli hostages exchanged for Palestinian prisoners, and humanitarian aid entering the Strip. The initial four-day truce has already been extended for two days.
“Hamas has informed the mediators that it is willing to extend the truce for four days and that the movement would be able to release Israeli prisoners that it, other resistance movements and other parties hold during this period, according to the terms of the existing truce,” the source tells AFP.
Under the existing agreement, the Gaza-based terror groups must free Israeli children and women, not including serving Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Nine children remain hostage in Gaza, the youngest aged just 10 months old.
Between Friday and Monday, when the truce was initially set to expire, Hamas released 50 Israeli hostages — 30 children and 20 Israeli women, 10 of them mothers of freed kids — abducted by Hamas during its October 7 onslaught. It also freed an Israeli-Russian man as a gesture to Moscow, and 18 foreigners — 17 Thais and a Filipino — as part of a separate, Iran-brokered deal.
In return, Israel has freed 150 female and underage Palestinians serving time in Israeli prison for security offenses.
The original deal stipulated that the ceasefire could be extended by more days — up to a total of 10 days, including the first four — if Hamas releases at least 10 additional hostages each day, with Israel freeing more security inmates at a ratio of three prisoners for every hostage.
A two-day extension was agreed upon, and after Hamas released 10 Israeli hostages on Tuesday, it is expected to free another 10 today. Israel is expected to release 60 Palestinian security prisoners, all women and minors, as part of the two-day extension.