Three killed in Jerusalem shortly before truce is extended

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Shortly after Hamas agreed to extend its truce with Israel by one day just minutes before the pause was due to expire, Israeli police indicated that two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing at least three people during the early morning rush-hour.

The extension, now into its 7th day, after two extensions so far, will see a further 10 hostages released for an additional day’s pause.

Key mediator Qatar announced the extension and indicated that the original framework remained in place in terms of the exchanges of Israeli hostages for three times the number of Palestinian prisoners.

The international community, including the UN Secretary-General, has insisted that the days-long pause in fighting was not enough to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza where a catastrophe continued to unfold.

Several countries including China have called for the current pause to lead to a permanent ceasefire and not a return to fighting which would only lead to a vicious cycle of violence.

Israel is adamant that its military operations to dismantle Hamas would resume when the current pause lapses.