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Israel-Hamas truce extended for a 7th day 

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Israel-Hamas truce extended for a 7th day 

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GAZA CITY — Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the temporary truce in Gaza, just minutes before it was due to expire.

The pause in fighting was due to expire at 05:00 GMT, but the Israeli military says it will now be extended “in light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages” taken by Hamas.

Qatar, which has led international mediation efforts, has confirmed the truce between Israel and Hamas will be extended by one day until Friday.

“The Palestinian and Israeli sides agreed to extend the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip for another day,” Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said in a statement.

Hamas had already announced early on Thursday the pause would continue for another day, while Israel’s army said the truce continued with ongoing negotiations.

Al-Ansari said the truce will be conducted under the same conditions as before: Military activities will stop, hostages will be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners at a ratio of three to one and much-needed humanitarian aid will be allowed to flow into Gaza.

He added the truce would take place “within the framework of the joint mediation of Qatar, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States.”

A senior Israeli official said on Thursday that his country will extend the truce for each day that Hamas continues to release 10 “living” hostages.

Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Kuwait Weekly Israel’s position on any extension of the humanitarian pause in fighting is “crystal clear.”

“Every day, we agreed to an extension for the release of 10 hostages, 10 living hostages,” Regev said. “If Hamas continues to release hostages, 10 a day, we will extend the hold — the pause.”

Regev said those wanting to see an extension of the six-day truce must place pressure on Hamas.

“Pressure must be placed on Hamas. If they continue to release hostages, then the pause can continue,” he said.

When asked if the fighting would resume within the next 24 hours, Regev said, “if Hamas fails to meet the conditions of the extension, which is to release 10 Israelis, then of course the fighting can be resumed.”

There are still at least 140 hostages inside Gaza, Regev said. Israel accepted the current agreement of a humanitarian pause “to get our hostages out, that could be extended each day for a day,” he said.

Asked about negotiations on any further agreements, Regev said, “This is a humanitarian pause in our fight against Hamas. Israel is determined to destroy Hamas’ military machine and its rule over Gaza.”

Asked about violence in the occupied West Bank, after the Palestinian Authority said two children were killed by Israeli gunfire in Jenin, Regev says he did not have details of the alleged incident, but that Israeli forces have been “very energetically” tackling what he describes as terrorism there.

“We’ve been taking the fight to the terrorists, and we’ve been dealing with the threat,” he says. “Sometimes there are gunfights, sometimes people are killed.”

Earlier on Thursday the Hamas military wing asked its forces to maintain a high-combat readiness posture in case a truce with Israel isn’t renewed.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said on Telegram that its fighters should remain in the high-combat readiness position unless an official statement is issued confirming the extension of the truce. — Agencies

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