The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, welcomed yesterday Monday the two-day extension of the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

A few hours before the deadline, the parties agreed to extend the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which took effect on Friday.

“I welcome the agreement reached on the two-day extension of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,” Mrs von der Leyen said in a press release issued by her Brussels offices.

“I once again call on the Hamas terrorists to release all the hostages they took during their horrific attack on October 7,” the text continued.

Since Friday, more than 50 hostages and some 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons have been released, as stipulated in the deal brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the US. It is—on both sides—women and children. The agreement provided for the possibility of extending the truce on the condition that 10 hostages a day be released in exchange for the release of 30 Palestinians. In total, up to 100 hostages were expected to be exchanged for 300 prisoners.

Commission President von der Leyen also noted that the extension of the truce will allow more civilians to receive “necessary assistance” in the Gaza Strip.

So far, he pointed out, the European Commission has transported 900 tons of aid to the Gaza Strip via Egypt, with 20 flights. Four more flights are expected during the week, he said.

As of Friday, Israel had been relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an October 7 raid by Hamas militants on southern sectors of the Israeli territory that left 1,200 dead, according to Israeli authorities. During the deadliest attack Israel ever suffered by a state in 1948, 240 people were kidnapped and taken to the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli leadership has vowed to “wipe out” the Palestinian Islamist movement that seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and on October 27 ordered a ground operation to begin.

According to the latest official tally from the Hamas Health Ministry, some 15,000 civilians — 14,854 to be exact — including 6,150 children, were killed in Israeli air, land and sea bombardment. Civil protection in Gaza speaks of another 7,000 missing, much of whom were buried in the rubble. Another 36,000 people have been injured.