Israel confirmed early Thursday that it would extend the temporary truce in Gaza for at least 24 hours as eight Israeli hostages are reportedly set to be released.
According to the Times of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said that “in light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the agreement, the ceasefire will continue.”
There were frantic diplomatic efforts through the night to prolong the six-day halt to fighting which was set to end at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, The Guardian reported.
The extension appears to be for only 24 hours.
The Israeli military’s confirmation came just minutes before the ceasefire was due to expire.
According to CNN, the Israeli government decided to extend the ceasefire but insisted “that if an acceptable list of further prisoners to be released was not delivered by 0700 this morning [Thursday], fighting would resume at once.”
“A list of women and children – in accordance with the terms of the outline [of the ceasefire agreement last week] – was delivered to Israel a short time ago; therefore, the pause will continue,” a statement from the government said.
Hamas freed 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday night.
Before the extension was announced, Hamas leaders said that Israel refused to receive seven women and children and the bodies of three other hostages in exchange for continuing the ceasefire, The Associated Press reported.
Hamas and other militants still hold about 160 hostages out of 240 seized in their Oct. 7 assault into southern Israel that ignited the war.