Hamas eyes Gaza truce extension for more hostage releases

60 Israeli hostages and 180 Palestinian prisoners have been freed so far

By AFP

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Palestinians walk among the rubble, as they inspect houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas. (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinians walk among the rubble, as they inspect houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas. (Photo: Reuters)

Published: Wed 29 Nov 2023, 1:51 PM

Hamas is willing to extend a truce for four days and release more Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, a source close to the militant group said Wednesday, as mediators sought a lasting halt to the conflict.

A current truce is scheduled to expire early Thursday after a six-day pause in the conflict, sparked by deadly Hamas attacks that prompted a devastating Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

With 60 Israeli hostages and 180 Palestinian prisoners already released and more set to walk free on Wednesday under the agreement, Qatari mediators said they were working for a "sustainable" ceasefire.

Hamas on Wednesday "informed the mediators that it is willing to extend the truce for four days," a source close to the militant group told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Under that arrangement, "the movement would be able to release Israeli prisoners that it, other resistance movements and other parties hold during this period, according to the terms of the existing truce," the source added.

Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari told a Doha news conference on Tuesday that negotiators were seeking "a sustainable truce that will lead to further negotiations and eventually to an end... to this war."

A source with knowledge of the talks added in comments to AFP on Wednesday that discussions were "focused on building on the progress of the extended humanitarian pause agreement and to initiate further discussions about the next phase of a potential deal."

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