| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Blinken says will work on extending pauses in Israel to free more hostages

A temporary ceasefire that has been in place and allowed captives seized by Hamas to be released could potentially be prolonged, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who stated on Wednesday that he will work with the Israelis during his trip to Israel in the coming days.

Blinken stated that more prisoners would be released and more help would reach Gaza if the pauses were maintained during a press conference held in Brussels after a NATO meeting.

“Clearly, that’s something we want. I believe it’s also something that Israel wants,” he said.

“We’re working on that every single day and I expect to take that up tomorrow when I’m in Israel with the government,” he added.

Israel and Hamas were negotiating through mediators on Wednesday over extending a six-day pause in fighting that has seen Gaza militants free 60 Israeli women and children from among the 240 hostages they seized in a deadly rampage on Oct. 7.

In return, Israel has released 180 Palestinian security detainees, all women and teenagers.

Blinken, who also will visit the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates this week, said he would also be having conversations about the future of Gaza and a future two-state solution to the conflict.

  • Reuters