ATLANTA, USA (CNN) – A deal was reached Thursday to extend the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas for a seventh day after Hamas refused for hours to provide a list of hostages, including 10 women and children. According to sources familiar with the talks, Israel insisted on meeting.
Sources told CNN, “After a tense and lengthy debate over extending the cease-fire for a seventh day, the Israeli government on Thursday accepted a plan to release only 8 new Israeli hostages and agreed to account for two Israeli-Russian hostages on Wednesday,” as part of Thursday’s panel.
A source said, “After Israel rejected a copy of Hamas’ list of the seven women and children it said had been killed in the bombing, as well as the bodies of three men, Hamas continued to say it could not find more women. Children.” He added, “Hamas began to display seven women, children and three elderly people, which was deemed unacceptable by the Israelis.”
Hamas waited until the end of the ceasefire to hand over the eight new hostages, a list accepted by Israel, in addition to the two Russian-Israelis released on Wednesday, according to the sources. The door was opened to the possibility of changing the number of hostages freed on Thursday, as negotiations remained volatile.
The parties have now fully entered a daily extension phase of the cease-fire, during which Hamas must provide a new list of 10 hostages and cease fighting for 24 hours. With serious challenges looming, with Hamas insisting until the last minute that it was having trouble finding enough hostages, nervous negotiators expect extending the ceasefire to an eighth day will be very difficult.
New details of Wednesday’s talks confirm the perilous nature of the current ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, with various sides poised to come after the truce.
Important questions now remain about whether the deal will last another day or whether Israel will resume fighting.
Before extending the ceasefire by two days, negotiators believed that Hamas could not deliver more women and children to extend the ceasefire beyond the eighth day. With Hamas still unable to free the women and children alive, Israel is understood to be resuming its military campaign, possibly this weekend.
Israel has repeatedly said military pressure helps free hostages, and Hamas wants better terms for the release of civilian men and Israeli soldiers, men and women. Last week, the deal was made only for women and children hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday (the sixth day of the ceasefire): “For the past few days, I have been asking this question: Will Israel fight again after this level of returning our hostages?”, adding: “My answer is no doubt.” : Yes”.
The Biden administration says it has asked Israel to take a more cautious approach than before the ceasefire as operations are expected to shift to southern Gaza, where the majority of the Strip’s population has been displaced.
During their meeting in Jerusalem on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken stressed to Netanyahu the need to ensure that the safety of civilians in southern Gaza is taken into account before the Israeli military begins military operations there.
It remains to be seen how much this pressure will be taken into account.
An Israeli official said, “Israel and the US administration are in close talks on several fronts, including the need to put pressure on Hamas after the cease-fire and the need for humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. In these discussions, Israel is interested. Interest from the US point of view.”
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