Hamas Seeks To Extend Gaza Truce, Qatari Officials Visit Israel

By JPost
Posted on 11/26/23 | News Source: JPost

Hamas sought to extend the four-day pause in the Gaza war Sunday night, after it had completed 80% of a hostage deal that went into effect Friday, releasing 40 Israelis, one Filipino and 17 Thai citizens over the last three days.

A jubilant Israel welcomed 14 of those Israelis and three Thai citizens on Sunday, including Avigail Idan (4) who also holds American citizenship.

Hamas killed her parents in front of her in Kfar Aza during the group’s attack on Southern Israel on October 7, when terrorists seized some 240 hostages.

“We are moved to the depth of our souls,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

IDF Spokesperson R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters, “This is an emotional day, but we have not forgotten for a moment the hostages that have been held in captivity in Gaza for over 51 days,” The IDF is prepared to resume its military campaign, he said, as he spoke of the war against Hamas sparked by the October 7 attack, in which the terror group killed over 1,200 people in southern Israel.

The next phase of the war

Plans for the next phase of the war have already been approved, Hagari said, adding that “as long as we can free hostages from Hamas captivity, we will do it.”

Qatar, which mediated the original hostage deal even though it has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel, sent an intelligence delegation to Israel on Saturday to discuss extending the deal.

Mossad officials hosted their Qatari counterparts, including on Sunday, to confer on the recovery of hostages held by Hamas and other elements of a Gaza truce, an Israeli security official said on Sunday.

Cooperation between Qatari and Israeli security agencies is "traditionally close", despite the lack of formal relations between the countries, the official said.

The war cabinet met on Sunday night to debate the possibility of extending the pause. US President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday that he would work to make that happen.