Hamas militants accompany a newly released Israeli hostage, held since the Hamas' October 7 attacks, before handing them over to the Red Cross in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 28, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Gaza City: A source close to Hamas said on Wednesday the militant group was willing to extend by an additional four days a Gaza truce that has seen Israeli hostages exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.

“Hamas has informed the mediators that it is willing to extend the truce for four days and that the movement would be able to release Israeli prisoners that it, other resistance movements and other parties hold during this period, according to the terms of the existing truce,” the source told AFP.

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American hostages

In Washington, the White House said that US officials see no indications that Hamas militants are refusing to release American hostages in Gaza in order to use them as leverage.

The United States believes Hamas is holding eight to nine Americans as hostages after the release of a four-year-old girl.

Late on Tuesday, 10 Israeli women including a 17-year-old were released by Gaza militants, Israeli officials said, on the fifth day of a truce in fighting with Hamas.

The release of the Israeli group as well as two Thai nationals brings the total number of freed hostages to 86 from around 240 people taken to the Gaza Strip after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel.

Tuesday’s release in Gaza was followed by the freeing of 30 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, under the terms of an extended truce between Israel and Hamas.

Adding to the 60 Israeli hostages who have been released since fighting paused on Friday, 19 Thais, a Filipino and a Russian-Israeli have also been freed though not part of the agreement.

Five hostages were also released in October before the truce, one of them rescued in an Israeli military operation.