Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their truce by at least a day to allow negotiations to continue on swapping Israeli hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners. France, meanwhile, has suggested the European Union consider sanctions on Israeli settlers who have targeted Palestinians in the West Bank.
"In light of the mediators' efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue," the Israeli military said minutes before the six-day temporary truce was due to expire early Thursday morning.
Hamas said in a statement that the truce, under which it has released 10 Israeli hostages a day in exchange for the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners, would continue for a seventh day.
The conditions of the ceasefire, including the halt of hostilities and the entry of humanitarian aid, remain the same, according to a foreign ministry spokesperson from Qatar, which has been a key mediator between the warring sides, along with Egypt and the United States.
Hamas earlier had said that Israel had refused to extend the truce in exchange for receiving seven women and children and the bodies of three other hostages.
Hamas had said a family of three Israeli hostages, including the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, had been killed during Israel's bombardment of the enclave.
"A short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue," the Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement.
On Wednesday Israel received 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners, including the prominent activist Ahed Tamimi, who in 2017 slapped an Israeli soldier who raided her West Bank village.
France suggests sanctions on West Bank settlers
United Nations figures show that attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank have more than doubled since Hamas' surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October and Israel's subsequent bombing of Gaza.
France said the European Union should consider sanctions on Israeli settlers who have targeted Palestinians in the West Bank.
"We believe that the international community has a role to play to end these acts of violence which are extremely destabilising for the region, but also harm the prospects for a two state-solution," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre told a weekly news briefing on Wednesday.
She said no options were excluded, including European Union sanctions on violent individuals.
Legendre also said talks were progressing in Brussels to impose sanctions on Hamas commanders.
On 13 November France imposed sanctions at a national level on Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif and his deputy, Marwan Issa.