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Israeli Authorities Extend Gaza War Pause for Hostage Release

Israeli authorities declared an extension of the cease-fire in Gaza on Thursday, paving the path for the release of further hostages.

Israeli authorities declared on Thursday an extension of the pause in the Gaza war, paving the way for the release of additional hostages and prisoners.

In a statement posted on [X], the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) conveyed, “In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the abductees and subject to the terms of the agreement, the truce will continue.”

Six-Day Halt and Hostage Exchange:

Initially set to conclude on the current morning, the six-day cessation of hostilities involved the release of a final group of hostages from Gaza overnight. 

This exchange facilitated the liberation of dozens of Palestinian prisoners.

The truce brought a temporary respite to the conflict that erupted on October 7, initiated by Hamas crossing into Israel. 

Israeli authorities reported 1,200 casualties, primarily civilians, and approximately 240 abductions during the ensuing violence.

Human Toll and Infrastructure Damage:

Israel’s subsequent air and ground campaign in Gaza resulted in nearly 15,000 casualties, predominantly civilians, and extensive destruction in the northern regions of the territory, reducing them to rubble, as stated by Hamas officials.

Since the truce’s commencement on November 24, 70 Israeli hostages have been freed in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners. 

Notably, approximately 30 foreigners, mostly Thais residing in Israel, were released outside the truce’s formal terms.

Israel’s Stance and Calls for Prolonged Ceasefire:

While Israel views the truce as a temporary cessation aimed at freeing hostages, there is a mounting demand for a sustained pause in hostilities. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the need for a “true humanitarian ceasefire,” underscoring the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, terming it an “epic humanitarian catastrophe.”

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