In the tense backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict, a precarious ceasefire holds the fate of numerous women and children hostages, hinging on their release by Hamas. The initial ceasefire timeline of four days, later extended by two, may witness further extensions until Sunday morning, provided all hostages are set free.
Fragile ceasefire in the face of urgency
The hostage crisis sparked when Hamas terrorists assaulted southern Israel on October 7, taking around 100 women and children captive and leading to the tragic loss of approximately 1,200 lives. To this point, 60 hostages have found freedom in a prisoner exchange deal, seeing Palestinian prisoners walk out of Israeli jails.
The Israeli stance on ceasefire extension
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown a willingness to prolong the ceasefire in return for the liberation of hostages, offering an additional day for every 10 hostages released. However, voices within the Israeli military are pushing for a resumption of military action to realize their objective of dismantling Hamas.
Growing concerns for safety and future
The safety of hostages, including a 10-month-old infant and his family, is of mounting concern as they remain in captivity. Uncertainty also hangs over the fate of the captive men, with Hamas expected to demand a steeper 'price' for their release. As the ceasefire draws to an end on Thursday, trepidation builds around areas like Khan Younis, believed to be the new abode of some hostages, potentially in the line of heavy fire.