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Diplomats worked overtime into Tuesday morning to extend the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas by 48 hours beyond the four-day deadline to Thursday morning , the BBC reported. Both sides said that they wanted to prolong the peace and continue exchanging hostages beyond the deadline, the Guardian reported.
Hamas has released 62 of the 240 hostages that the militants kidnapped when they broke through the barriers separating the Gaza Strip from Israel on Oct. 7 before going on a rampage that resulted in an estimated 1,200 Israeli deaths. Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli forces have since killed more than 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza in retaliatory attacks designed to destroy the Hamas leadership, reported the Associated Press.
Egypt, Qatar, and the US brokered the four-day ceasefire that started Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US. The talks began after Qatar, an ally of the US, suggested to American officials that they establish a team dedicated to freeing captives, Al Jazeera reported.
President Joe Biden pressed the Qatari case in October when he traveled to Israel to speak with leaders in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Israel has said that the truce could continue for every day that Hamas releases 10 more hostages. Israeli officials won’t allow Palestinians to return to northern Gaza, from where they fled to avoid Israeli attacks. But, as part of the deal, Israel has permitted trucks carrying fuel and other aid into the territory on the Mediterranean Sea through neighboring Egypt, added the New Arab news site.
Adina Moshe was one of the freed Israeli hostages, wrote the Times of Israel in a story describing how Hamas terrorists shot and killed her husband on their kibbutz before taking her.
Moshe’s loved ones were not the only ones waiting for word of her release. As the New York Times reported, Israeli families whose relatives were taken on Oct. 7 have been on an emotional rollercoaster as they’ve seen the conflict escalate.
Israel has also come under withering criticism, however, for its prosecution of the war. Observers at Amnesty International, for example, accused the Israeli military of conducting indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between Hamas murderers and around 2 million ordinary Palestinians who have lived in a tightly controlled sliver of a non-state for their entire lives.
A Reuters story that featured images of columns of Palestinian corpses wrapped in blue plastic bags waiting for burial in a mass grave attested to the results of the Israeli campaign.
The fighting probably isn’t over, but both sides, remarkably, aren’t always only seeing red.