Gaza ceasefire extended by two days as three-year-old twins among 11 Hamas hostages freed

Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the truce for two more days, and to free more hostages and prisoners

  • The four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been extended by two days ahead of the deal's expiry on Tuesday.

  • The pause in fighting has seen dozens of hostages and Palestinian detainees released, as a fourth exchange begins.

  • More than 13,300 Palestinians have died since the start of the war, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry

  • At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel following Hamas' attack on October 7

Three-year-old twins were among 11 hostages Hamas handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza on Monday night, the Israeli military said.

Emma and Yuli Cunio, alongside their mother, are part of the fourth swap under the original truce agreed between Israel and the proscribed terror group.

On Monday both agreed to extend the temporary ceasefire in Gaza for an additional two days, Qatar said.

The existing deal was due to expire on Tuesday but the Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson, Dr Majed al Ansari, announced: "The State of Qatar announces, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip."

Qatar, Egypt and the US have all acted as international mediators in the conflict and had all made efforts to see the ceasefire extended.

At least 33 Palestinian detainees were expected to be released later in the evening.

Last Friday marked the start of the four-day pause in fighting between the territories, which has also seen dozens of hostages and detainees exchanged on both sides.

Israelis celebrate as a helicopter carrying hostages released from the Gaza Strip lands in Israel. Credit: AP

The families of the latest group of hostages expected to be released by Hamas have been notified, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

It comes after Netanyahu said he had spoken with US President Joe Biden and reiterated his offer to extend the pause by an additional day for every 10 hostages Hamas releases.

But he warned that Israel would resume its offensive "with all of our might" once the truce expires.

On Sunday, Hamas released 17 hostages - including 14 Israelis and a four-year-old American girl - in return for 39 Palestinian detainees freed by Israel.

Separately, Hamas said it released a Russian hostage "in response to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Israel would resume its offensive 'with all of our might' once the truce expires. Credit: AP

And three more Thai hostages were freed, bringing the total of released nationals from the country to 17, Thailand's Foreign Ministry said.

The ceasefire has given some respite to the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million people - two thirds of which have been displaced from their homes.

Hundreds of aid trucks have been allowed into the territory since the pause began, although the United Nations (UN) has said it is still "hardly enough".

The pause in fighting is the most significant since the war began at the start of October, in response to an attack by Hamas which killed at least 1,200 people in southern Israel.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have also been killed during the fighting - around two thirds of them women and children - according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

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