February 24, 2024

Diplomatic efforts continue to secure the ceasefire as Israel receives Hamas’ latest list of hostages. According to reports from CNN and The Washington Post, a total of 63 Israeli hostages and 20 foreign nationals have been released by Hamas, while Israel has released 180 Palestinian prisoners since the ceasefire began. The ceasefire was originally set to end on Thursday but Hamas is “striving to extend the truce,” as reported by CNN. According to an Israeli official, the truce is expected to be extended for two to three more days, and negotiators are working to secure the release of female and children hostages before discussing the men and Israeli soldiers still held by Hamas.

Israel has expressed its determination to eliminate Hamas, which governs Gaza. Health authorities in Gaza report that Israel’s bombardment has killed over 15,000 people, with approximately 40% of the casualties being children.

In a separate development, the heads of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad met with Qatar’s prime minister in Doha to discuss the extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas. The outcome of the talks, which also involved Egyptian officials, remains unclear. CIA Director William Burns and the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, David Barnea, met with the Qatari Prime Minister one day after Qatar announced the extension of the truce deal in Gaza.

Qatar, where several Hamas leaders are based, has been leading negotiations between the group and Israel. The truce has provided a much-needed respite to the Gaza Strip after seven weeks of intense bombing by Israel in response to a violent incident on October 7 by Hamas terrorists, resulting in numerous casualties and captives.

Barnea and Burns previously met with Sheikh Mohammed on Nov 9. Reuters contributed to this article.