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Israel, Hamas reach preliminary agreement to extend ceasefire for another 2 days

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Gaza/Jerusalem: Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas, through the mediation of Qatar, Egypt and the United States, reached a preliminary agreement to extend the humanitarian pause for another two days, the Al Araby Al Jadeed newspaper reported Wednesday, citing unnamed Egyptian officials.

The sides have agreed to extend the humanitarian pause for another two days on the same conditions, the report said.

The newspaper cited sources as saying that Hamas has hinted it had contacts with other groups in the enclave, which still have women and children in captivity.

The Washington Post reported, citing an Israeli official, that Israel anticipated a further extension of the pause for two or three more days.

“After tomorrow, we expect to have another two to three days of hostage release and a humanitarian pause, after which either we resume operations in Gaza or potentially reach a follow-on agreement,” the official said, adding that Israel expected most children to be released by Wednesday night, with about 20 to 30 female hostages remaining in Gaza.

The Times of Israel reported, citing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, that Israel has received a list with the names of the sixth group of hostages to be freed by Hamas later on Wednesday. The office added that the families of those on the list have been informed, the report said.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter, that US Central Intelligence Agency Head William Burns has arrived in Qatar for secret meetings with his Israeli counterpart Aharon Haliva and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to broker an agreement between the Palestinian movement Hamas and Israel on hostage swap expansion. Burns is seeking to expand the hostage swap deal to encompass the release of men and servicepeople and pushing for another extension of the humanitarian truce, as well as an immediate release of all US citizens held hostage in the Gaza Strip, the release said.

Last week, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a four-day truce and an exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. On Monday, Qatar announced that an agreement had been reached between Israel and Hamas on a two-day extension of the truce.

On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border, killing and abducting people. Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, food, and fuel. On October 27, Israel launched a large-scale ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. The conflict has so far resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people in Israel and over 16,000 in the Gaza Strip.

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