JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the four-day ceasefire two more days, in hopes that the pause will see the release of an additional 20 hostages.
On Monday, 11 Israelis, including 2 mothers and 9 children, returned home after being held hostage for 52 days in Gaza by Hamas.
Among the reunions: 15-year-old Dafna and her 8-year-old sister Ela, who are now with their birth mother. Hamas murdered their father, step-father, and step-brother in Kibbutz Nir Oz.
The White House expects more reunions in the coming days.
John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman, stated, “That’s really the goal here, to get all the hostages home with their families where they belong. And you know, however long that could take.”
Yet, Kirby says the White House is skeptical concerning how Hamas may use the ceasefire.
“It’s a real risk,” he explained. “You have to expect a group like Hamas—a terrorist group, which clearly doesn’t abide by laws of war—will try to take advantage of any pause in the fighting for their own benefit. So we’re watching that closely, as well as our Israeli counterparts. You can bet they’re watching that closely.”
Meanwhile, after huge pro-Palestinian marches took place in London, more than 100,000 people came together in Britain’s capital to march against anti-Semitism.
One of the marchers, Malcolm Canning, said, “Anything that is associated with the Jewish religion is now under attack, and they have to look after themselves and have their own security. I never thought it would get to this stage in this country. And it’s very, very upsetting to see it.”
And in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams blasted high school students who forced their Jewish teacher to hide in her office after they found out she took part in a pro-Israel rally, while CNN is reporting police arrested a man accused of shooting 3 Palestinian students in Vermont.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took Elon Musk on a tour of a kibbutz destroyed on October 7th. Musk also saw some of the raw footage of Hamas atrocities.
Meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog after the tour, Musk concluded, “I would say, an emotionally difficult day, to see the places where people were murdered. And to also to watch the video where the murderers are rejoicing.”
Herzog responded, “Exactly, that’s the worst part in the movie. I was shocked by it. Celebrating the murder of innocent people is extremely disturbing.”