A humanitarian pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas will extend by two days, mediator Qatar said Monday as an initial four-day truce in Gaza was set to expire.
“The State of Qatar announces that, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip,” Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari said on X, formerly Twitter.
Later Qatar confirmed 11 Israeli hostages would be freed on the fourth day of the truce, among them three French, two German, and six Argentinian dual nationals.
A total of 33 Palestinians in Israeli prisons – 30 minors and three women – were released, Ansari said.
Over the course of the humanitarian pause and in weeks prior, Qatar, with the support of the United States and Egypt, has been engaged in intense negotiations to establish and prolong the truce in Gaza, which mediators had said was designed to be broadened and expanded.
Including the 11 hostages set to return home on Monday, a total of 50 civilian hostages, women and children, were freed by Hamas during the initial truce.
In exchange, 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel were released and humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza.
As a result of parallel negotiations led by the Gulf state, 17 Thais, one Filipino, and one dual Russian-Israeli national have also been released by the Palestinian militants.
Israel says the attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and around 240 more were taken hostage, among them elderly people and children.
In response, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which the Hamas government says has killed 15,000 people, thousands of them children.