Egypt, Qatar, US Near Agreement on Extending 4-Day Gaza Truce: Reports

Negotiators from Egypt, Qatar, and the United States are nearing an extension of the four-day truce in Gaza set to expire on Monday, according to media reports. Pressure is mounting internationally to prolong the deal that has halted seven weeks of conflict. Hamas seeks a four-day extension, while Israel prefers day-by-day renewals, with ongoing negotiations focusing on the release of Palestinian prisoners. Israel conditions the truce extension on the release of hostages, suggesting an extra day for each 10 hostages freed, with a cap of five additional days.

On Sunday, Hamas released 58 hostages, including a 4-year-old Israeli-American girl, and Israel freed 39 teenage Palestinian prisoners, totalling 117 under the truce. The agreement mandates Hamas to release 50 Israeli women and children, with 11 remaining on Monday. An Israeli spokesperson reports 184 hostages in Gaza, including 14 foreigners and 80 Israelis with dual nationality.

Both parties express positivity toward an extension, but a final decision is pending. Concerns over Monday’s prisoner release lists are being addressed by Qatari mediators. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns of resuming operations without an extension, aiming to eliminate Hamas and secure all hostages’ release.

Palestinians in Gaza hope for an extension, visiting damaged homes and queuing for aid. Diplomatic efforts from Qatar, Egypt, the U.S., the EU, and Spain aim to extend the ceasefire. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urges global pressure on Israel for an indefinite truce extension, fearing a resurgence of hostilities.

EU diplomat Josep Borrell views the truce as a vital first step but calls for more. Borrell urges Israel to avoid “recolonizing Gaza” and supports a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares suggests post-conflict governance in Gaza without Hamas due to a lack of a “peace agenda.”

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