Biden urges extension of truce between Israel and Hamas

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Biden urges extension of truce between Israel and Hamas
Biden urges extension of truce between Israel and Hamas

The countdown to the expiration of the truce between Israel and Hamas has entered its final 24 hours, as the militant group shows indications of willingness to extend the pause.

A poignant development in the ongoing conflict is the release of hostages by Hamas, including a four-year-old orphaned by one of its attacks.

Tearful reunions between families and the released hostages, exchanged for Palestinian prisoners, have brought a moment of respite in the seven-week-long war.

The conflict began when Hamas launched a devastating attack on Israel on October 7, leading to extensive Israeli bombardments of the Gaza Strip.

With the truce scheduled to end at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) on Tuesday, there are calls for an extension.

US President Joe Biden expressed the desire to keep the pause going beyond the deadline, allowing for more hostages to be released and increased humanitarian relief in Gaza.

He emphasized that the pause should continue for “as long as prisoners keep coming out.”

Hamas has signaled its openness to extending the truce, indicating a willingness to prolong it by “two to four days,” according to a source close to the group.

The resistance group believes this extension could lead to the release of additional Israeli prisoners.

Under the terms of the truce, 50 hostages held by Hamas were to be freed over four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.

The truce includes a built-in mechanism that extends its duration if at least 10 Israeli captives are released each additional day.

The recent days of hostage releases have lifted spirits in Israel, providing emotional reunions after weeks of conflict.

Families, as well as international allies, are urging Israel to extend the truce to secure more releases.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna expressed the view that extending the truce until all hostages, including French nationals, are freed would be “good, helpful, and necessary.”

The release of hostages has included heartwarming reunions and, in some cases, the return of individuals, such as a four-year-old American citizen named Abigail, who lost both parents in the Hamas attacks.

As the truce deadline approaches, there is anticipation regarding Israel’s decision on extending the pause, considering the pressure from various quarters to secure the release of more hostages.

The situation remains fluid, with ongoing diplomatic efforts to navigate a path toward a lasting resolution.