White House says it is working to extend truce and condemns Hamas attack in Jerusalem

Israel has vowed to resume its war on Gaza, saying it is intent on destroying Hamas

The temporary truce in Gaza came amid mounting international pressure to bring to a halt weeks of Israeli bombardment after a Hamas attack on Israel. Getty Images
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The White House on Thursday said that it was working to extend the truce in the Gaza Strip and condemned the shooting of three people in a Hamas attack in Jerusalem.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US is continuing efforts with Israel, Qatar and Egypt to extend the truce in Gaza, now in its seventh day, to enable the release of additional hostages held by Hamas and allow the entry of more aid to the besieged enclave.

“We're working on it literally by the hour to see if we can get this seventh day turned into an eighth and ninth and 10th and beyond,” Mr Kirby told reporters.

“But all I can do is tell you where we are right now and we're glad that we got a seventh day out of this.”

The comments came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on his third visit to Israel since the war began, met Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials, and said that he hoped the truce could be extended and more hostages released.

The temporary truce in Gaza came amid mounting international pressure to bring to a halt weeks of Israeli bombardment and an unprecedented ground invasion after a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people.

More than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed, the majority of them women and children, and most of the coastal enclave's population has been displaced to the south, where a humanitarian crisis is worsening.

Israel has vowed to resume its war on Gaza, saying it is intent on destroying Hamas.

“They have said very clearly that, that when these pauses are over, they intend to go back at it,” Mr Kirby said.

“And as they make that decision, they'll continue to find support from the United States in terms of the tools and capabilities, the weapons systems that they need, as well as the advice and the perspectives that we can offer in terms of urban warfare.”

On Thursday, Palestinian gunmen killed three people and wounded several others in Jerusalem.

The attackers were shot dead and Hamas later claimed responsibility for the shooting.

The incident has not appeared to have affected the truce, but Mr Kirby said it was an example of the kind of threat that Israel is under by Hamas.

“We obviously condemn this terrorist attack and senseless violence,” he said.

So far, 75 Israelis, some of them dual citizens, have been freed in exchange for 210 Palestinian detainees, mostly women and minors, held in Israeli prisons.

Another 24 hostages, most of them Thai citizens, have also been freed in separate agreements.

US officials had said that nine American citizens were believed to be among the hostages. On Thursday, Mr Kirby said four* Americans have so far been released and one remains unaccounted for.

On December 1, the White House said that the number of American hostages freed from Gaza was four and not six as previously stated

The latest from the Israel-Gaza war – in pictures

Updated: December 01, 2023, 7:50 PM