Israel-Hamas PhotoCredit: CNN

Extension of ceasefire between Israel and Hamas announced

Both Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the truce moments before it was set to expire. Israel’s military announced the extension of the “operational pause” without specifying the duration.

The details of any formal agreement between the two parties remain unclear at this time.

The extension of the operational pause was announced by Israel’s military, citing the ongoing efforts of mediators to facilitate the release of hostages.

The extension is contingent on the terms outlined in the framework. On the Hamas side, there is confirmation of an agreement to prolong the truce for a seventh day, although specific details have not been provided.

Qatar, the primary mediator in the ceasefire discussions, officially declared an extension of the pause until Friday. The decision to prolong the ceasefire was influenced by the desire to facilitate further releases of hostages and enhance the delivery of additional aid to the severely affected Gaza Strip.

The urgency for an extension became evident with the arrival of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel on Wednesday night, underscoring the international commitment to address the humanitarian situation through diplomatic discussions.

The ceasefire has temporarily halted hostilities that erupted on October 7, initiated by Hamas militants crossing into Israel. According to Israeli authorities, the incursion resulted in the death of 1,200 individuals, primarily civilians, and the abduction of around 240 people.

In response, Israel conducted an air and ground campaign in Gaza, resulting in nearly 15,000 casualties, mostly civilians, as reported by Hamas officials. Large portions of the northern Gaza territory now lie in ruins due to the extensive military operations.

The truce agreement stipulates the possibility of extensions contingent on Hamas releasing an additional 10 hostages per day. A source with close ties to the group indicated on Wednesday a willingness to extend the pause by four days.

However, just an hour before the expiration of the truce, Hamas reported that its offer to release seven more hostages and hand over the bodies of three individuals allegedly killed in Israeli bombardment had been rejected.

Both parties had previously expressed their readiness to resume hostilities. The armed wing of Hamas issued a warning to its fighters, instructing them to “maintain high military readiness” in anticipation of a possible renewal of combat, as conveyed through a message posted on its Telegram channel.

IDF spokesman Doron Spielman emphasized that if the truce expired, Israeli troops would swiftly transition into operational mode, resuming their objectives in Gaza without delay.

Throughout the night, 10 additional Israeli hostages were liberated in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Additionally, four Thai hostages and two Israeli-Russian women were released outside the formal framework of the arrangement.

A video released by Hamas depicted masked gunmen handing over the hostages to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Notably among those who regained freedom is Liat Beinin, a dual American citizen who serves as a guide at Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. The release, including Beinin, was met with satisfaction from US President Joe Biden, who expressed being “deeply gratified” by the development.

Expressing satisfaction with the truce, he stated, “This agreement has produced substantial outcomes.” Following the arrival of the hostages in Israel, the country’s prison service announced the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners, including the renowned activist Ahed Tamimi. Since the commencement of the truce on November 24, a total of 70 Israeli hostages have been liberated in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners.

Notably, approximately 30 individuals, predominantly That is residing in Israel, have been released independently of the formal terms of the agreement.

Israel has emphasized that it views the current truce as a temporary cessation aimed at securing the release of hostages. However, there is a mounting chorus advocating for a more enduring break in hostilities.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a “genuine humanitarian ceasefire,” highlighting the dire situation in Gaza as an “epic humanitarian catastrophe.”

Meanwhile, China, represented by its top diplomat Wang Yi in New York for Security Council discussions on the violence, has urged the prompt implementation of a “sustained humanitarian truce.” This position was articulated in a position paper released on Thursday.

All has been lost

The liberations of hostages have ushered in a mix of joy and sorrow, as families endure nightly anticipation, uncertain whether their cherished ones will be among those set free. The returning hostages bring with them harrowing tales that add to the emotional weight of the ordeal.

For instance, four-year-old Abigail’s story is both heart-wrenching and miraculous. Abigail was seized after emerging from beneath her father’s lifeless body, a victim of militants. Covered in her father’s blood, she became a poignant symbol of survival.

Her great aunt, Liz Hirsh Naftali, described it as nothing short of a miracle that the little girl not only endured such a traumatic experience but was eventually released.

Nevertheless, on Wednesday, the Israeli army announced an investigation into a claim made by Hamas’s armed wing that an Israeli bombing in Gaza resulted in the death of a 10-month-old baby hostage, his four-year-old brother, and their mother.

Before the truce, Israel subjected the Gaza Strip to relentless bombardment, compelling approximately 1.7 million people to evacuate their homes. This onslaught also led to severe restrictions on the entry of essential supplies, including food, water, medicine, and fuel.

The conditions in Gaza are described as “catastrophic” by the World Food Programme, and the population is at a “high risk of famine.” Additionally, Israeli forces targeted several hospitals in northern Gaza during the conflict, accusing Hamas of utilizing them for military purposes.

The spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, informed AFP on Wednesday that doctors had discovered five premature babies deceased in Al-Nasr Hospital in Gaza City. Unfortunately, medical staff had been compelled to evacuate the hospital.

Although the truce has permitted displaced individuals to return to their homes, the reality for many is one of profound loss. Taghrid al-Najjar, a 46-year-old resident returning to her home in southeastern Gaza, expressed the devastating discovery that her house, built over 27 years, had been completely destroyed.

The conflict in Gaza has heightened tensions in the West Bank, where the Palestinian health ministry reports that almost 240 Palestinians have lost their lives either at the hands of Israeli soldiers or settlers since October 7.

The most recent casualties in the occupied territory include an eight-year-old boy and a teenager. Israel stated that it “responded with live fire” as suspects threw explosive devices towards troops, with confirmed hits identified. This incident underscores the ongoing volatility in the West Bank amid the broader regional tensions.

Credit: AFB


Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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