In a significant development in the Middle East, a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas has been extended into its eighth day following seven weeks of brutal Israeli bombardments in retaliation for a Hamas attack, reports The Wall Street Journal. The truce, initially established on November 24, and extended twice since, aims to bring an end to the conflict that was triggered by a bloody Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7.
The Late-Night Rocket
Just before the truce's expiration, an Israeli army statement uncovered that a rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip, but was intercepted in time. Following this incident, both Israel and Hamas have reportedly agreed to extend the truce by an additional 24 hours. The terms of this extension involve the release of ten more hostages, primarily comprising women and children.
The New York Times has reported a startling revelation: Israeli officials had been aware of Hamas' plans for an unprecedented attack over a year in advance but had dismissed it as unrealistic. According to the report, Israeli military intelligence had acquired a detailed Hamas document outlining the attack. This attack has led to the lamentable death of approximately 1,200 individuals in Israel.
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The Israeli Penitentiary Authority has announced the release of thirty Palestinian prisoners, all women, and minors, under the truce agreement. This follows the release of eight Israeli hostages by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including two Franco-Israeli hostages freed earlier. In total, 110 hostages, including Israeli and dual nationals, and 240 Palestinian prisoners have been released since the truce began. Additionally, about thirty foreigners, mostly Thai nationals working in Israel, were freed outside the truce agreement.
Among the released Israeli hostages were dual nationals from Uruguay, Mexico, and Russia. The Qatar Foreign Ministry's spokesperson reported that the eight released Israeli citizens included two minors and six women. In exchange for the ten hostages in Gaza, thirty Palestinians were to be released from Israeli prisons, including two Russian citizens released the previous day.