An agreement has been reached to extend the Israel-Hamas truce for another two days, the spokesman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Qatar, along with Egypt, has been the key mediator in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The announcement comes on the final day of a four-day truce between the warring sides, as they were preparing for a fourth exchange of militant-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
On Sunday, Hamas freed 17 more hostages — 14 Israelis and three Thais — in a third exchange under the four-day truce. In turn, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners.
Of the roughly 240 hostages captured by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war, 62 have been released, one was freed by Israeli forces and two were found dead inside Gaza.
Israel has said it would extend the cease-fire by one day for every 10 additional hostages released. Hamas has also said it hopes to extend the truce.
With the truce deal has come increased shipments of fuel and supplies into Gaza — although aid groups say it's still barely enough to dent the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza who have endured weeks of Israeli siege and bombardment.
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, roughly two thirds of them women and minors, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will press ahead with the war after the cease-fire expires. Some 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas. At least 77 soldiers have been killed in Israel’s ground offensive.
ELDERLY ISRAELI HOSTAGE STILL IN CRITICAL CONDITION
The 84-year-old Israeli hostage Elma Avraham is still in critical condition a day after she was released from Hamas captivity and airlifted directly to a hospital, her doctors said Monday.
"If she wasn’t brought to us yesterday, or if there was any delay in her arrival, her condition would have deteriorated further,” Dr. Tzachi Slotsky, the deputy administrator of Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheba, said in a news conference.
Avraham’s daughter, Tali Amano, said her mother left Gaza just “hours from death” with a body temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit). Avraham is currently intubated and sedated, but Amano was able to tell her mother beforehand of a new great-grandchild born while she was in captivity.
Amano said her mother had several chronic conditions that required regular medication, but her health was stable before she was kidnapped. She said the family met multiple times with the Red Cross, medications in hand, imploring the aid group to find a way to get the medications to her mother.
“We are so happy to see everyone who returned before her, waving and healthy, but my mother did not deserve to return this way, she was severely medically neglected,” said Amano.
“We are here today to try to save who is still left," Amano told reporters, "so someone will be able to convince the Red Cross and all the women’s organizations to act, so someone will raise their voices and ask: Why are you there? What are you doing?”
Responding to Avraham’s comments, The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that they are currently unable to deliver medicine directly to hostages despite requests from family members.
“As soon as we would have the right to visit the hostages, we will be ready with the necessary medicines and other aid in hand to deliver,” said ICRC Media Chief Jason Straziuso, in a brief statement shared with The Associated Press.
“We continue calling for access to the hostages, as we´ve done from Day 1, and we are ready to carry out those visits,” he said. The statement did not offer details about what has prevented the organization from accessing hostages.
ELON MUSK VISITS KIBBUTZ THAT WAS ATTACKED BY HAMAS
Elon Musk, who’s been under fire over accusations of antisemitism flourishing on his social media platform X, paid a visit Monday to Israel, where he toured a kibbutz that was attacked last month by Hamas militants.
The billionaire and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the Kfar Azza kibbutz, which was stormed by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Musk, wearing a protective vest and escorted by a phalanx of security personnel, used his phone to take photos or videos of the devastation, according to video released by Netanyahu’s office.
“The platforms you lead, unfortunately, have a huge reservoir of hatred, hatred of Jews, and anti-Semitism,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog told Musk during their meeting.
“It’s amazing what humans can do if there are fed lies since they were children, they will think that murdering innocents is a good thing, which shows how much propaganda can affect people’s minds,” Musk said, according to a statement released by Herzog’s office.
Government spokesperson Eylon Levy declined to say whether Musk was invited or came on his own. X, formerly known as Twitter, did not respond to a request for comment.
Israel’s communications minister, Shlomo Karhi, posted on X earlier Monday about a deal that his ministry had reached with Musk’s Starlink satellite internet company.
“As a result of this significant agreement, Starlink satellite units can only be operated in Israel with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Communications, including the Gaza Strip,” Karhi wrote, without providing further details.
Musk had responded on X this month to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism by saying, “You have said the actual truth.”
FREED HOSTAGE WAS ABLE TO FLEE FROM CAPTORS FOR SEVERAL DAYS
JERUSALEM — A 25-year-old Israeli Russian hostage who was released from Gaza on Sunday night told family members he was able to flee from his captors and hide within Gaza for a few days before being recaptured, his aunt told Israeli public radio, Reshet B.
“He said he was taken by terrorists and they brought him into a building, but the building was destroyed (by Israeli bombing) and he was able to flee,” Yelena Magid, the aunt of Roni Krivoi, said in an interview Monday.
“He was trying to get to the border, but I think because he didn’t have the resources to know where he was and which direction to flee, he had some trouble,” Magid said. She added that he told her in a phone conversation that he was able to hide himself for about four days before Gaza residents discovered him and returned him to Hamas captivity.
“One thing that gave us hope from the start is that he’s a boy who’s always smiling and he can figure things out in any situation,” Magid said.
IN NORTH GAZAN TOWN, VIRTUALLY EVERY BUILDING IS DAMAGED
In the north Gazan town of Beit Hanoun, virtually every building has been damaged by the ongoing conflict, some entirely leveled and others ripped open.
Associated Press videos captured on Monday show the extent of the destruction as the planned four-day truce between Israel and Hamas enters its final 24 hours.
A handful of residents searched beneath the rubble for anything of use or value. The U.N. Palestinian relief agency UNRWA's Beit Hanoun school was one of few buildings still standing, but with holes in its walls and roof, likely caused by missile or artillery fire.
The war-ravaged city has been largely abandoned after Israel called for Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate and head for the south.
UN EXPERTS CALL FOR A FULL INVESTIGATION OF ANY WAR CRIMES
Experts from the United Nations have called for full and independent investigations into any crimes committed by Israel and Hamas in their ongoing conflict.
The U.N. experts, Morris Tidball-Binz, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, and Alice Jill Edwards, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said in a joint statement in Geneva on Monday that “independent investigators must be given the necessary resources, support and access required to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into crimes allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict.”
They urged all parties involved in the conflict to protect civilians, comply with their obligations under international law, and cooperate fully with investigations.
HEZBOLLAH WILL COMPENSATE LEBANESE WHOSE HOMES WERE DAMAGED BY ISRAEL
BEIRUT — A senior Hezbollah legislator said Monday that the Iran-backed group will compensate Lebanese whose homes along the Lebanon-Israel border were damaged by Israeli shelling and strikes.
Hezbollah militants and Israeli troops have clashed along the border since Oct. 8, stoking fears that the Hamas-Israel war in the Gaza Strip will spill over into the rest of the region. Though the clashes have been intense, with both combatants and civilians killed on both sides, they have remained largely contained to areas near the border. Hezbollah was not officially a party to the four-day truce between Hamas and Israel that took effect Friday, but calm has largely prevailed on the Lebanon-Israel border since then.
“What we are offering those affected is money and the efforts and capabilities of Hezbollah, and that is part of our battle,” said parliament member Hassan Fadlallah, who made the announcement at an event honoring a slain Hezbollah militant in the border town of Aita al-Shaab.
Fadlallah said the group surveyed most of the damaged areas in southern Lebanon, widely seen as a political and military stronghold for the group.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a draw. Israel sees Hezbollah as its most direct threat and estimates that the group has about 150,000 precision-guided missiles pointed at it.