Hamas Seeks Truce Extension Amid US Pressure for Gaza Safe Zones

Hamas Seeks Truce Extension Amid US Pressure for Gaza Safe Zones

Hamas willing to extend truce as US urges Israel for Gaza safe zones

Hamas has expressed its willingness to extend the truce for hostage and prisoner exchanges, according to a source close to the group. The United States has also urged Israel to establish safe zones for Gaza civilians as the pause in the deadly war between the two sides is set to expire.

International pressure has been mounting for a lasting ceasefire after Hamas launched deadly attacks on Israel, prompting a devastating Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

As the latest group of Israeli hostages was released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, a source close to Hamas stated that the group is willing to extend the truce that has allowed aid to reach Gaza civilians. However, Israel has not yet responded to this offer.

With the current truce set to expire soon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an extension after meeting with leaders in Israel and the occupied West Bank. He emphasized the importance of continuing the process and ensuring the safety of civilians in Gaza.

Blinken urged Israel to implement humanitarian civilian protection plans that would designate safe areas in southern and central Gaza, away from the line of fire.

A source close to Hamas confirmed their willingness to extend the truce but preferred to remain anonymous due to lack of authorization to speak to the media.

International organizations have called for more time to allow medical supplies, food, and fuel into Gaza after the intense fighting and bombings triggered by Hamas’s attacks on Israel.

Blinken highlighted the positive developments, such as the release of hostages and increased humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and expressed hope for the continuation of these efforts.

Before the truce, Israeli forces had launched a massive offensive on Gaza, forcing a significant portion of the population to flee their homes and severely limiting essential supplies.

The initial four-day truce has been extended for three days under the mediation of Qatar. However, Israel has made it clear that it will continue its offensive against Hamas once the truce period ends.

Hamas has released eight Israeli hostages, including nationals from Mexico, Russia, and Uruguay, while Israel has released 30 Palestinian prisoners, including 23 minors and seven women.

Since the truce began on November 24, a total of 80 Israeli hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners have been released.

The violence in Gaza has not only impacted the region but has also heightened tensions in the West Bank, where nearly 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers.

Hamas claimed responsibility for a shooting in Jerusalem that killed three people shortly after the truce extension was announced. The group called for an escalation of resistance.

The situation remains uncertain as the truce expiration approaches, with Gaza residents hoping for its extension to bring about lasting peace and stability.