Hamas Says It Wants to Extend Truce With Israel After Latest Prisoner Swap

Netanyahu says he'll extend the truce one day for every 10 hostages released and vowed the war will continue after the deal

Hamas said Sunday that it’s ready to extend the four-day truce with Israel after the two sides exchanged prisoners for the third straight day.

“The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas seeks to extend the truce after the 4-day period ends, through serious efforts to increase the number of those released from imprisonment as stipulated in the humanitarian ceasefire agreement,” Hamas said in a statement, according to Al Mayadeen.

The hostage deal allows an extension in the four-day truce in exchange for Hamas releasing more hostages. Earlier in the day, a Hamas source told AFP that the group could potentially release 20-40 more Israelis. Qatar, which brokered the deal, said Hamas needs to locate dozens of Israeli women and children who are held in Gaza by other groups in order to extend the pause in fighting.

The Israeli side has expressed interest in extending the four-day truce if Hamas releases more prisoners while making it clear the war will continue once the pause is over. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with President Biden on Sunday and said his government is willing to extend the ceasefire one day for every 10 hostages Hamas releases.

Netanyahu said he also told Biden that “at the end of the deal, we are returning full power to carry out our aims: destroy Hamas, ensure that Gaza won’t return to what it was, and of course to free all of our hostages.”

So far, Hamas has released 58 hostages, including 14 Thai nationals who gained their freedom as part of a separate arrangement with Bangkok. Seventeen hostages were released on Sunday, including a four-year-old American citizen. Israel has released 117 Palestinians, the majority being women and children or people who were detained when they were minors.

On Saturday, Hamas said it would stop releasing hostages unless Israel lived up to its commitment to allow more aid trucks into Gaza, but the group began freeing hostages later in the day, and the deal has continued since then. Before the truce came into effect, US officials told The Times of Israel that Israel would likely not be able to live up to its pledge to allow 200 aid trucks into Gaza per day since it refused to open one of its border crossings into the enclave.

The truce in Gaza has held relatively well, besides Israeli forces firing on displaced Palestinians trying to return to northern Gaza. But over in the West Bank, violence has continued. Over the weekend, Israeli forces killed eight people during raids in the West Bank, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed in the occupied territory since October 7 to 239.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.