Israel, Hamas extend Gaza truce by a day
Israel and Hamas struck a last-minute agreement yesterday to extend their ceasefire for a seventh day, while mediators pressed on with talks to extend the truce further to free more hostages and let aid reach Gaza.
The truce has halted bombing and allowed some humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million people was reduced to wasteland by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment.
Gazans have been able to use the week-long truce to venture out, visit abandoned and destroyed homes, and dig scores more bodies out of the wreckage. But residents and international agencies say the aid that has arrived so far is still trivial compared to the besieged enclave's vast humanitarian needs.
Meanwhile, the armed wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting in Jerusalem, which Israel called further proof of the need to destroy the group, although there were no signs of this scuppering the Gaza truce or release of hostages.
Shortly after the agreement yesterday, Israeli police said two Palestinian attackers opened fire at a bus stop during morning rush hour at the entrance to Jerusalem, killing at least three people. Both attackers were "neutralised", police said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Israel during his third visit to the Middle East since the war began, said the truce was "producing results". US officials said Blinken also told the Israelis to ensure the safety of Palestinian civilians once the war resumes.
Egypt's state media body said Egyptian and Qatari mediators were working to negotiate a further extension of the truce for two days.