US to press for extending Gaza truce – White House 

The United States (US) will continue to press for extending a truce in Gaza, the White House said yesterday, as intense fighting erupted once again in the Israel-Hamas war.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson said, “We continue to work with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar on efforts to extend the humanitarian pause in Gaza”.

Under the truce which lasted a week, Hamas militants released 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners. More humanitarian aid was also delivered to war-devastated Gaza.

However, the prospects of re-establishing a truce were being stymied because “Hamas has so far failed to produce a list of hostages that would enable a further extension of the pause”, the NSC spokesperson said.

President Joe Biden and his national security team “will continue to remain deeply engaged as we look to free the remaining hostages”, the NSC spokesperson stated.

On Thursday, Washington’s top diplomat, Antony Blinken, also called for a truce extension while meeting Israeli and Palestinian officials during a visit to the region.

Recall that the fighting began on October 7, when Hamas militants broke through Gaza’s militarized border into Israel. During the unprecedented attack, Hamas killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped around 240, according to Israeli authorities.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas, and unleashed an air and ground military campaign in Gaza that the Hamas authorities who run Gaza say has killed almost 15,000 people, also mostly civilians.

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