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Hamas seeks to extend truce with Israel by releasing more hostages as deal expires today

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Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Gaza Updated on: November 27, 2023 12:02 IST
Israelis celebrate the release of hostages.
Image Source : AP Israelis celebrate the release of hostages.

As the Israel-Hamas war entered its 52nd day, the Palestine-based militant group has reportedly said that it will seek to extend the four-day truce with the Jewish state by releasing additional hostages in the Gaza Strip. The group said that it hoped to extend the truce in order to secure the release of more Palestinian prisoners, in addition to the 117 released in the ongoing exchange. Notably, the temporary truce is set to expire today with the release of 50 hostages.

Ahead of the agreement, Israel had said that it would extend the truce for a day for every 10 hostages released by Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that he had reiterated this offer to US President Joe Biden as 17 more hostages were released. He said that “at the end of the deal, we are returning full power to carry out our aims: destroy Hamas, ensure that Gaza won’t return to what it was, and of course to free all of our hostages.”

A Wall Street Journal report said that negotiations are underway to extend a truce between the two warring parties and expand the list of hostages who could be released in the upcoming days. The talks, being mediated by Egypt and Qatar, could see the deal being extended by four more days. 

Egyptian officials said that elderly men could be released alongside women and children as well as the remains of the deceased. Hamas has so far refused to consider the release of non-elderly Israeli men, the report says.

Hostages released by Hamas

Hamas released 17 more prisoners, including 14 Israelis and three outsiders, in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners. The youngest hostage was Abigail Edan, a four-year-old dual Israeli-American citizen whose parents were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7.

The Israeli military said that one captive, the 84-year-old Elma Avraham, was in life-threatening condition as “a result of an extended period of time when an elderly woman was not taken care of as needed". Three more Thai nationals were released.

So far, 39 hostages have been released from Gaza in the three days of paused fighting, including citizens from Thailand, the Philippines and Russia. On Friday, the first day of the exchange, 24 hostages were released in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners.

According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu's administration has received the list of the final 11 hostages to be released on Monday - the last day of the temporary truce. The Israeli PM has vowed to resume fighting 'with full might' once the truce expires.

Meanwhile, 117 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel, in three groups of 39. The US has also expressed hope Sunday that the truce will be extended for several more days, but said that "the ball is in Hamas' court". 

ALSO READ | Israel-Hamas War, Day 52: US President Biden vows to work towards 'two-state solution'

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