The truce in the Gaza war has been extended. Israel and Islamist Hamas have agreed to extend a ceasefire that was originally scheduled to last four days by two days, a Qatari mediator said. This was stated on Monday evening, a few hours before the end of the first ceasefire, by Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari. This means the ceasefire in effect since Friday morning is likely to last until Thursday morning.

As expected, several more hostages were released on Monday. In the evening, the Israeli army announced that eleven Israelis had been transferred to the custody of Red Cross workers. According to Israeli media, among them are nine children and two women. Among them were two teenagers from Germany, as Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock (Greens) confirmed on X (formerly Twitter). In exchange, 33 Palestinian female and teenage prisoners are to be released. More hostages should be released under an extended ceasefire.

It was the fourth group of hostages released since the ceasefire began on Friday in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. So far, 58 hostages have been released, including eight with dual German citizenship. In exchange, 117 Palestinians were released from prison. According to the agreement between Israel and Hamas, the ceasefire can be extended to ten days. During this time, it will be possible to exchange up to 100 hostages for up to 300 Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli government spokesman Eilon Levy said before Monday’s release that 184 hostages were still being held in the Gaza Strip. Of these, 14 are foreigners and 80 are Israelis with a second passport.

US Government: Not all hostages in Gaza are likely in Hamas hands

The US government has noted that not all people abducted into the Gaza Strip may be held by the Islamist Hamas. To release more hostages against Palestinian prisoners from Israel, Hamas must also find and return those hostages, National Security Council communications director John Kirby said on US television. It can be assumed that there are other groups that are holding some of the hostages. Kirby didn’t give a number.

Calls for a permanent ceasefire

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that the UN was able to increase aid supplies thanks to the ceasefire. But this is far from enough. “The humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip is worsening every day,” Guterres said. He called for a “complete humanitarian ceasefire.” In addition, all remaining hostages will have to be released. Saudi Arabia and Jordan also called for a ceasefire.

Burbock warned on Monday that the current ceasefire should be used as a bridge to a political process for a lasting solution to the conflict.

Germany supports kibbutz reconstruction

Germany will financially support the reconstruction of communities in Israel destroyed by Hamas. During a visit to Kibbutz Beeri, which was attacked by terrorists on October 7, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced on Monday that, on his initiative, the Bundestag will allocate the sum of seven million euros to the site in 2024. These funds are intended to finance the renovation of the cultural center and meeting center for seniors in Beeri.

Kibbutz Beeri, founded by German Jews, is located in close proximity to the Gaza Strip. Hamas terrorists almost completely destroyed it. More than 130 of the approximately 1,300 residents were killed and more than 50 kidnapped.

Islamist terrorists from the Gaza Strip entered Israel on October 7 and killed more than 1,200 people there. About 240 hostages were kidnapped, including several Germans. Israel responded with massive airstrikes, a blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched a ground offensive in late October. Almost 15,000 people were killed, according to Islamist Hamas.

UN: There is too little food and fuel in the Gaza Strip

Further aid supplies have reached residents of the Gaza Strip, but they only cover minimal needs, according to the UN Emergency Relief Agency. Food supplies remain difficult. Many people still lack food and cooking fuel. The north of the Gaza Strip was particularly affected. Livestock farming is under threat due to lack of feed and water. “Across the Gaza Strip, farmers are slaughtering their animals due to the urgent need for food and the lack of feed to keep the animals alive,” UN OCHA said.

HRW: Missile misfire likely caused Gaza clinic explosion

According to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), the explosion at Al Ahly Hospital in the Gaza Strip was likely caused by a misfired rocket fired by armed Palestinian factions. But further investigations are needed to determine who fired the suspected missile and whether the laws of war were broken, HRW said. After the October 17 explosion, Israel said it was hit by a misdirected rocket from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.

Israelis held hostage by Hamas: no abuse, little food

The first people freed now report being held hostage: They were treated poorly but conditions were harsh, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot reported, citing relatives. People cooked their own food. “But there were also days when there was nothing to eat, and sometimes the abducted had to wait an hour and a half before they were allowed to use the toilet,” the newspaper quoted Merav Raviv, a member of the Munder family, as saying. .

Keren Munder was kidnapped in the Gaza Strip along with her nine-year-old son Ohad and grandmother Ruti in a deadly Hamas attack on October 7. They were released on Friday as part of an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel: Starlink Mask only works in the Gaza Strip with Israeli permission

Tech Billionaire Elon Musk According to Israeli information, the Starlink satellite communications system will be used in the Gaza Strip only with Israeli approval. Musk basically agreed on this with the Ministry of Communications, Minister Shlomo Karhi wrote on Musk’s X platform (formerly Twitter). Musk visited Israel on Monday.

In late October, Musk announced that he wanted to use his company SpaceX’s satellite communications system to help restore broken communications with internationally recognized relief organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel then said it wanted to prevent this by all means possible. The reason is that Islamist Hamas will abuse the system for terrorist purposes. (dpa/kg)

Musk in the Middle East
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