A top Palestinian Authority diplomat is pushing for an extension of the Israel-Hamas cease-fire that was set to expire today, saying, “We have work so that this truce continues,” and claiming that a resumption of Israel’s military campaign against terrorism would result in more civilian deaths. 

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad al-Malki, speaking at a meeting of delegations from members of the European Union and countries from North Africa and the Middle East in Barcelona, Spain, argued that “[i]f we see the war resume, then the number of deaths will double because the concentration of the population is now twicefold.” 

“The population of Gaza has concentrated in the south of Gaza,” The Associated Press quoted him as saying in Spanish. “So any attack that before killed one child will now kill two. That is why it is important to extend this truce.”  

The Gazan population moved southward at the urging of Israel, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sought to minimize civilian casualties while they carried out attacks in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

LIVE UPDATES: ISRAEL AT WAR WITH HAMAS 

Al-Malki is one of 42 representatives of different countries and territories attending the Union for the Mediterranean meeting, which is focused on the war that has raged since Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7. 

More than 1,200 Israelis have been killed in the war, while the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health is claiming there have been more than 13,000 deaths as a result of the Israeli military’s response. 

The 4-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas – which also has resulted in Hamas exchanging dozens of its 240 hostages for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel – was due to expire Monday night. Hours before it was set to end, Qatar announced that Israel and Hamas agreed to a two-day extension.

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Hamas terrorists in Israel

The office of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that the “release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause” in the fighting, but it remains to be seen how many hostages will be released in the coming days.

Israel tank in Gaza City

 

Despite the current pause in hostilities, Israel has made clear that it is only a pause and not an end to the war.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the security services will continue the war in order to return home all of the hostages, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza,” Netanyahu’s office said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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