A WEEK-LONG ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas is set to end in a matter of hours, with no extension agreed after an additional eight hostages were freed last night.
Hostilities between the warring forces are expected to resume from 7am local time – 5am UK time – today.
There were talks of a possible third extension of the ceasefire agreement last night, but nothing concrete.
Hamas and Israel yesterday agreed to extend their truce for another day only minutes before the fighting was supposed to resume.
Israel received a new list of 10 hostages to be released in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners yesterday as gunmen opened fire at a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing three including a 24-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man.
A fourth person has now died following the shooting, according to unconfirmed reports among Hebrew media outlets.
More on the hostage releases
They state the fourth person was an “armed civilian” who attempted to apprehend the two attackers, with Israeli forces mistaking him as hostile and seriously wounding him.
He is reported to have died of his injuries last night, though this has not been confirmed by authorities.
The two shooters, Murad Muhammad Nimr and Ibrahim Muhammad Nimr, are understood to have been killed as Israeli forces responded to the attack.
The IDF confirmed late last night that six Israeli hostages had been released by their terrorist captors and were safely back in Israel.
Among the newly-released hostages are a Mexican, a Russian, and Uruguayan national, according to the Qatari foreign ministry.
The last six to be freed are: Nili Margalit, 41; Sapir Cohen, 29; Shani Goren, 29; Ilana Gritzewsky, 30; Bilal Alziadana, 18; and Aisha Alziadana, 17, with two more freed earlier: Mia Schem, 21, and Amit Soussana, 40.
Heartwarming footage from yesterday showed Mia Schem break down in tears as she hugged her mother and brother for the first time since being kidnapped 55 days ago.
Up until a 24-hour extension was agreed yesterday, Hamas blamed Israel for the possible end to the truce, accusing them of “refusing to receive seven women and children” who had been held hostage.
The terror group readied its armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, for battle when the ceasefire did not look set to be renewed.
The initial four-day truce agreement started last Friday and was extended by 48 hours to last until early Thursday, and then again to today.
Israeli forces have repeatedly said they are “ready” to continue their military operations in Gaza, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to resume the war with full force when the truce expires.
He said: “From the beginning of the war, I set three goals: the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our abductees, and to ensure that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel.
“These three goals remain in place.”
He added: “There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end.”