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A convoy of Caritas Australia partner trucks containing blankets, mats and mattresses bound for Gaza (CRS/Sayed Hassan)

A ceasefire in the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas will be extended by two days, continuing a pause in seven weeks of fighting that has killed thousands and laid waste to the Palestinian enclave. Source: The Age.

The deal, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the US, was announced just hours before the original four-day truce was due to expire on Monday night (local time).

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said that under the deal, more hostages taken by the militant Hamas group in raids on Israel on October 7 would be released and dozens more trucks carrying aid would be allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Mr Kirby said 20 more women and children would be handed over by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, Caritas Australia’s partners in Gaza have in the past week shipped a batch of supplies, providing blankets, mats, and mattresses to needy families.

A total of 600 families have received a kit containing six blankets, one mat and four mattresses, with further supplies set to support 3550 families in the coming weeks. Caritas Australia’s partners are procuring 8000 tarps to provide temporary shelter and are working to source further shelter options and hygiene supplies. 

This new shipment adds to the work done by partner teams in Gaza in recent weeks to assist more than 18,000 households and four churches sheltering more than 1200 people. These families and church shelters have been supported with cash assistance, essential supplies and psychological first aid.

Caritas Australia’s humanitarian emergencies lead Sally Thomas said that while the supplies provided this week “are vital and the temporary pause is necessary to provide some relief, it is simply not enough to deliver a real humanitarian response for those inside Gaza”.

“The scale of the need and suffering is simply too great, so we continue to call for a total end to the violence, ensuring human rights and dignity can be restored,” Ms Thomas said. 



Israel, Hamas agree to extend ceasefire ahead of fourth hostage-prisoner swap (By Latika Bourke, The Age

Caritas Australia reports blankets, mats and mattresses have reached 600 families in Gaza (Caritas Australia)