February 22, 2024

Hamas sought an extension of the four-day pause in the Gaza war after completing 80% of a hostage deal that released 40 Israelis, one Filipino, and 17 Thai citizens. Israel welcomed 14 of the Israelis and three Thai citizens on Sunday, including 4-year-old Avigail Idan, who also holds American citizenship. Her parents were killed by Hamas during an attack on Kfar Aza on October 7. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed deep emotions, while the IDF Spokesperson R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari stated that they are prepared to resume their military campaign. Plans for the next phase of the war have been approved, and Qatar, which mediated the original hostage deal, sent an intelligence delegation to Israel to discuss extending the deal. Mossad officials hosted their Qatari counterparts to confer on the recovery of hostages, and the war cabinet met on Sunday night to debate the possibility of extending the pause. US President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to making that happen.