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Will a truce between Israel and Hamas be extended?

A helicopter transporting hostages released by Hamas arrives at Schneider Children Medical Center in Petah Tikva after they were released by the Palestinian militant group from the Gaza Strip on November 26, 2023. Hamas militants released a third group of hostages including a four-year-old American girl on November 26, in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners on the third day of a truce which a source close to the militants said they were willing to prolong. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A helicopter transporting hostages released by Hamas arrives at Schneider Children Medical Center in Petah Tikva after they were released by the Palestinian militant group from the Gaza Strip on November 26, 2023. Hamas militants released a third group of hostages including a four-year-old American girl on November 26, in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners on the third day of a truce which a source close to the militants said they were willing to prolong. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday, Hamas released 17 more hostages, 14 Israelis and three Thai nationals. One of those included Israeli-American citizen Abigail Idan, who turned 4 in captivity.

That news was welcomed by President Joe Biden, who told reporters that he wanted to see the pause in fighting continue. Extending the truce “is my goal, that’s our goal, to keep this pause going beyond tomorrow so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into those in need in Gaza,” the president said in a news conference.

And late last night Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was open to extending the current pause in fighting, but that once it is over, the Israeli ground operation in Gaza will continue. Egyptian, Qatari, and U.S. negotiators closed in on an extension but differences remain on terms. Hamas is seeking a four-day extension while Israel wants day-by-day extensions.

While talks continue to extend the pause, the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed in seven weeks since Oct. 7. The Gaza Health Ministry says two-thirds of those killed are women and children.

As diplomatic efforts on the truce continue, we speak to Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan, a pediatric intensive care doctor with Doctors Without Borders about the greatest humanitarian needs.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Maya Garg