As a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas entered its final day on Monday, both sides have given indications that they are ready for an extension in fighting, reports say.
Israeli government has offered to add an extra day in truce if Hamas releases additional 10 hostages each day.
Hamas responded by saying it is willing to an extension and release more hostages.
In a statement issued Sunday, Hamas said it wants “to extend the truce after the four-day period ends, through serious efforts to increase the number of those released from imprisonment as stipulated in the humanitarian ceasefire agreement.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is open to extension, but added that its military operations in Gaza would resume after the truce ends, with the aim of “eliminating Hamas.”
On Sunday, Hamas set free 17 hostages, including an American child, in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners.
U.S President Joe Biden welcomed the release of hostages by Hamas over the past three days, including 4-year-old American-Israeli Abigail Edan, who lost both her parents in militant attack.
Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the situation in Gaza. The two leaders discussed the pause in the fighting and surge in much needed additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Netanyahu thanked Biden for his tireless efforts to help broker and fully implement this deal.
The two leaders agreed that the work is not yet done and that they will continue working to secure the release of all hostages, the White House said. The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact over the coming days.
Out of 259 hostages Hamas abducted in a surprise attack carried out in Israeli cities on October 7, around 180 people are still held in captivity. Around 1,200 people, mostly Israelis, were killed in the militant attack across the border, while around 14,500 people lost their lives in Gaza in retaliatory attacks by Israel Defense Forces.
The Egyptian government said 120 trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Sunday.
The State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed mechanisms to increase the flow of aid into Gaza and to facilitate the safe exit of U.S. and other foreign nationals from the endangered Palestinian enclave.
The Secretary reaffirmed the importance of concrete steps to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians in all of Gaza and the United States’ rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians, Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Eight Palestinians were shot dead in Israel’s attack in the occupied West Bank since Sunday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
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