Mediator Qatar said on Monday that a truce between Israeli and Hamas forces in Gaza had been extended by two days, continuing a pause in seven weeks of warfare that has killed thousands and laid waste to the Palestinian enclave.
Hamas officials said the truce was extended under the same conditions as a four-day ceasefire, according to Reuters.
The initial four-day truce was due to end on Monday night.
“An agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip,” a Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson said in a post on social media platform X.
There was no immediate comment from Israel, but a White House official confirmed an agreement had been reached.
“An agreement has been reached with the brothers in Qatar and Egypt to extend the temporary humanitarian truce by two more days, with the same conditions as in the previous truce,” a Hamas official said in a phone call with Reuters.
Reactions trail extension
An official of Hamas, Ghazi Hamad, told Al Jazeera that Hamas wants to “stop the war and the aggression” against the Palestinian people.
“I hope we can extend until we reach the end of this war and aggression on our people in Gaza,” said Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau.
“I think there is big support across the Qatari government, the Egyptian government, and even Western governments; they want the ceasefire,” he said.
Hamad added that he hoped to see the international community pressure Israel to end its occupation and “to end this catastrophe” against Palestinians.
On its part, the White House welcomed the truce extension with hopes it would be extended further.
“In order to extend the pause, Hamas has committed to releasing another set of 20 women and children over the next two days.
“We hope to see the pauses extended further, and that would depend on Hamas releasing more hostages,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby defended the US’ diplomatic approach to the Israel-Gaza conflict, saying it is getting aid into the Gaza Strip and Americans out.
More than 14,854 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. The US provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military assistance annually.
Red Crescent said it was unable to deliver aid to north Gaza Monday
Since the beginning of the truce, however, 150 aid trucks have managed to enter Gaza City and the northern region, the Red Crescent says.
Fifty of those trucks were Egyptian, and they entered directly through the Rafah crossing and into the northern areas, thus overcoming “obstacles and challenges we face in loading and unloading shipments,” said Mohammad Abu Musabah, director of emergency medical services for the organisation.
Palestinians in Gaza continue to flee south amid Israeli military presence
Palestinian journalist Ashraf Amra documented Israeli military vehicles behind a crowd of displaced Palestinians as they moved southwards from the north of the Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street.
Wide areas of the Hamas-ruled enclave have been flattened by Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardments, and a humanitarian crisis has unfolded as supplies of food, fuel, drinking water, and medicine run out.