Mediation efforts ongoing to extend Gaza truce
Hamas has shown initial willingness regarding the Qatari-Egyptian proposal
GAZA: Mediation efforts have been intensified to extend the current Israel-Hamas humanitarian cease-fire, Palestinian sources have reportedly said.
"Qatar and Egypt conveyed a draft agreement to Israel and Hamas aiming to extend the current four-day cease-fire and facilitate a larger prisoner exchange between the two sides," the Palestinian sources, who wished to be anonymous, told Xinhua news agency.
The sources said the discussions involved the release of 40 to 50 detainees in Gaza, with increased humanitarian aid flowing into the enclave to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.
Hamas has shown initial willingness regarding the Qatari-Egyptian proposal. According to a statement from a representative of the group on Sunday night, "Hamas is seeking to extend the cease-fire beyond the four days that were initially agreed upon with Israel."
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he might agree to extend the truce with Hamas by a few days if Hamas would free more hostages.
In a phone call with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu said he would "welcome" the truce extension on the basis of an additional day for every additional ten hostages released, as outlined in the Qatari-mediated truce deal, according to an Israeli video statement.
The temporary cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, entering its third day on Sunday, entails a cessation of hostilities and an increased flow of aid trucks carrying relief supplies and fuel through the Rafah crossing.
The cease-fire agreement also stipulates the release of 50 Israeli female and teen hostages from Gaza in exchange for releasing 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons, with provisions for increasing the number of releases at subsequent stages of the agreement.