The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will be extended for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Monday morning.
The State of Qatar announces, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian pause for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.
— د. ماجد محمد الأنصاري Dr. Majed Al Ansari (@majedalansari) November 27, 2023
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby confirmed the extension at a press briefing Monday afternoon, saying that it would “result in the release of 20 more individuals, women and children.” He added, “We’d certainly like to see that extension extended even further until all the hostages are released.”
Kirby said officials believe there are eight to nine Americans who remain in hostage, and that the US is not involved in determining who is released. He added that the truce has allowed a “surge of humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” which he said has included more than 2,000 trucks filled with needed supplies and tens of thousands of gallons of fuel.
The agreement, which began Friday and was originally planned to last four days, placed a temporary pause in the war between Israel and Hamas, allowing for the release of 50 women and children held hostage by Hamas in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons. The pause also enabled more humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on NBC’s TODAY show last Wednesday that Israel had agreed to extend the ceasefire for 24 hours for every additional ten hostages released.
Hamas has confirmed the extension, according to the Times of Israel and NBC News. Israel does not immediately appear to have confirmed it.
President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have said officials will work to free the rest of the hostages held in Gaza. In a Sunday night post on X, Biden wrote, “To keep this pause in fighting going beyond tomorrow is our goal – so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief to those in need.”
Following the news of the extension on Monday, Biden said he has been calling for a pause in fighting in order “to accelerate and expand the humanitarian assistance going into Gaza and facilitate the release of hostages,” adding that he’s also staying in touch with Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari leaders to ensure that “every aspect of the deal is implemented.”