While the freed hostages gradually reveal what they have suffered in the tunnels of the Gaza Strip since last October 7, the fourth and final day of the truce between Israel and the fundamentalist group Hamas became a race against the clock to guarantee the last batch of the exchange established in the agreement and agree on an extension of the ceasefire.

As night fell, both goals were achieved. While nine Israeli children and two mothers began to be transferred to the Egyptian Rafah border crossing to return to Israel after 52 days, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dr. Majed Al Ansari announced that “as part of the ongoing mediation, has reached an agreement to extend the humanitarian pause for two more days in the Gaza Strip.” Two more days of calm in exchange for the release of another 20 kidnapped people.

Minutes later it was confirmed by Hamas on Telegram, which highlighted that the extension included “the same conditions of the previous truce.” Hours earlier, one of his leaders, Osama Hamdan, noted that his group was working “to prepare a new list of hostages who are detained in Gaza to extend the ceasefire.” During the truce, they looked for those who met the requirements of the agreement and were in the hands of Islamic Jihad or clans in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, for its part, stated that it is in favor of extending the truce as long as Hamas returns kidnapped people. As part of the pact, this Monday he released 33 Palestinian minors and women who were serving sentences in prison. In the coming days he will continue to do so under the principle of three prisoners for each hostage.

The extension of the ceasefire is no surprise, since from the beginning Hamas had stated that it could locate 20 more children and women than the 50 agreed for the first four days. Although for different motivations, both parties are interested in the extension. Israel wants to save all the hostages possible when after this Tuesday morning there would still be around 170. Hamas wants to postpone as long as possible the declared offensive to end its armed power and control of Gaza. Hence, it is now open to also negotiating the release of men for new extensions beyond the two days agreed upon today.

Once the truce ends, either this week or next, Israel plans to resume its attacks on Hamas that have already caused an unprecedented level of destruction in the Gaza Strip. At the top of the Army, they point out that the offensive is inevitable to put an end to Hamas and its threat to the Israelis, but at the same time they support the truce, either because the hostages are also citizens who did not know how to defend 7-O and because it allows rest and reorganize his troops.

Beyond the Israeli demand not to separate sons and mothers in the release of their own, another discord in the negotiation is the identity and order of the Palestinian prisoners to be released in a process that is increasing the already high popularity of Hamas in the West Bank. .

The images of Sunday’s liberation in Gaza with numerous militiamen in the streets reflect that the Ezzedin Al Qassam Brigades are still present in those areas of the northern Strip, despite massive air and ground pressure. Hamas has lost thousands of troops and infrastructure, but not the control reflected in the discipline imposed on all its commands of not launching projectiles and in the ability to keep the kidnapped in its spectacular network of tunnels and, at a logistical level, collect them at each release batch.

“The first conclusion of this truce is that Hamas is still strong on the ground so the comments about its collapse were hasty or just wishful thinking. Another is that Israel cannot back down due to the (Israeli) social pressure that it wants to see.” those kidnapped at home,” writes veteran commentator Nahum Barnea in Yediot Ahronoth.