Israel, Hamas Agree To Truce Extension

Israel and the Hamas terrorist group agreed to a two-day extension of the fragile truce in place since last week. Israel hopes that the 48-hour addition will allow for more hostages to be released who were taken in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

The truce extension comes at the end of the original four-day agreement, which saw about four dozen hostages released by Hamas. In exchange, Israel allowed for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza and released 150 Palestinian prisoners, including those accused of terrorism-related offenses.

So far, the hostages released have included several foreigners and women and children.

The agreement was announced by the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, which has positive relations with both the United States and Iran, which backs Hamas.

Israel offered additional time for the ceasefire should Hamas release more of the civilian hostages it captured in the original attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office earlier stated that the cease-fire could be extended a day for each 10 hostages released.

A United Nations official in Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ office called for a “full humanitarian ceasefire, for the benefit of the people of Gaza, Israel and the wider region. The United Nations will continue to support these efforts in every possible way.”

On Monday, Hamas released 11 more Israeli hostages The United States hopes that the current arrangement will allow for the release of an unknown number of Americans held by the terrorist group.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that one American, a four-year-old girl, has been released. He said that Washington welcomed the development and hoped “to see the return of more hostages in the days to come.”

Garland said in New York City that the federal government was prepared to aid “released Americans and their families.”

Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, fighting has continued in other parts of the Middle East. Within the last week, an Israeli-linked vessel was seized by Houthi rebels off the coast of Yemen. Another Israeli merchant ship was attacked by an Iranian-made drone.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Navy stopped an attempt to seize a civilian trading ship near Yemen. In response, Houthi rebels fired two missiles at an American destroyer.