Home Breaking News Israel-Gaza war: Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas agree to extend truce for a seventh day

Israel-Gaza war: Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas agree to extend truce for a seventh day

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The Israeli military and Hamas have agreed to extend the truce for a seventh day.

The truce was expected to expire at 3pm AEST but in the final minutes, both sides have agreed to extend the truce for at least one more day.

Hamas said it had agreed to extend the truce with Israel in Gaza for a seventh day.

Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) said it would extend the truce to allow mediators to continue to work to free the hostages held in Gaza.

The six-day ceasefire was extended by at least one more day to allow negotiators to keep working on deals to swap hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners.

Ceasefire extended

The truce has allowed much needed humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million was reduced to wasteland in response to a deadly rampage by Hamas militants into southern Israel on October 7.

“In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue,” the Israeli military said in a statement, released minutes before the temporary truce was due to expire.

Hamas, which freed 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday, said in a statement the truce would continue for a seventh day.

The conditions of the ceasefire, including the halt of hostilities and the entry of humanitarian aid, remain the same, according to a foreign ministry spokesperson from Qatar, which has been a key mediator between the warring sides, along with Egypt and the United States.

“A short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue,” the Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Two killed after gunman opened fire in Jerusalem

Shortly after the agreement, Israeli police said two Palestinian attackers opened fire at a bus stop during morning rush hour at the entrance to Jerusalem, killing at least three people and wounding eight others.

“The terrorists arrived at the scene by car in the morning, armed with an M-16 rifle and a handgun,” police said.

“The terrorists began shooting at civilians before subsequently being killed at the scene.”

The shooters came from East Jerusalem and were stopped by off-duty soldiers and another civilian who was nearby, police said.

Security camera footage aired by Israel’s Channel 12 television showed the moments of the attack. A white car is seen stopped beside a crowded bus stop. Two men then step out, guns drawn, and run at the crowd as people scatter. Shortly afterwards the Palestinian attackers are gunned down.

“This attack is further proof for our commitment to continue fighting with strength and determination against the murderous terrorism that threatens our citizens,” cabinet minister Benny Gantz wrote on social media platform X.

A large number of first responders and security forces converged on the area that was crowded with morning commuters, and police said they were working to reopen the street.

The US ambassador to Israel condemned the shooting.

“Abhorrent terrorist attack in Jerusalem this morning. We unequivocally condemn such brutal violence,” said Ambassador Jack Lew.

Group of 17 Thai hostages arrive in Bangkok

A group of 17 Thai nationals who had been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza have arrived in Bangkok, Thailand’s foreign ministry told reporters.

A total of 23 Thai hostages have been released in Gaza, with nine remaining in captivity.

Hamas gunmen from Gaza killed 39 Thais and abducted 32 Thai labourers during the October 7 attack on Israel, according to the Thai government.

Before the war, around 30,000 Thai labourers worked in the agriculture sector, making the group one of Israel’s largest migrant worker groups.

So far, 9,000 Thais have been repatriated.

Family members waited on Thursday to greet their relatives at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin believes that an extended ceasefire was a good sign and hopes that all hostages including Thai hostages will be released, the government said in a statement.

Thai migrant workers in Israel come mainly from the Southeast Asian nation’s rural northeast, seeking higher pay to send home to their families.

Thai Foreign Ministry Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said he held talks with his counterparts in several Middle Eastern countries with Hamas contacts.

A Thai Muslim group that held direct talks with Hamas said their efforts were crucial in securing the early release of Thai hostages.

On the first day of the ceasefire, ten Thai hostages were released without condition.

Truce has produced results: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas had produced results and that the United States hoped that it continued.

Sitting beside Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Mr Blinken said Washington was focused on helping to secure freedom for hostages taken to Gaza during an October 7 attack during which Israel says Hamas killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 240.

Mr Herzog said about 150 hostages remained in Gaza.

“We have seen over the last week the very positive development of hostages coming home, being reunited with their families,” Mr Blinken said.

“And that should continue today. It’s also enabled an increase in humanitarian assistance to go to innocent civilians in Gaza who need it desperately.

“So this process is producing results. It’s important, and we hope that it can continue.”

Mr Blinken, making his third trip to the region since October 7, was also expected to visit the occupied West Bank, where he will likely meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Palestinian official said.

Washington’s top diplomat was also expected to discuss Israel’s looming offensive into southern Gaza.

The US is asking Israel to take greater care to protect Palestinian civilians and limit damage to infrastructure in any offensive in the south, senior US officials said.

“I look forward to detailed conversations with the government of Israel about the way ahead in Gaza,” Mr Blinken said.

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