The initial plan to release the first hostages under the deal Israel reached with Hamas were delayed late Wednesday, just hours before an anticipated pause in hostilities.
Israel’s National Security Council revealed that the release of the first group of hostages would now occur after Friday.
The expected temporary ceasefire commencement has also been pushed to Friday, as confirmed by an Israeli official who spoke to CNN.
The statement emphasized ongoing talks to free the hostages, stating that the release would adhere to the initially agreed-upon timeline, not earlier than Friday.
The agreement involved pausing hostilities for four days and releasing at least 50 women and children from over 230 held in Gaza. Originally slated to start at 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Thursday, the truce was delayed.
Qatar announced intentions to disclose the truce start time shortly, highlighting ongoing discussions between Israel, Hamas, Egypt, and the US to ensure prompt implementation and adherence to the agreement.
While one Israeli official downplayed the delay as minor logistical issues, another cited the delay’s partial cause as the absence of the first hostages’ names from Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prior to the delay announcement, expressed confidence in the imminent execution of the agreement while offering limited details about its operational aspects during a Wednesday press conference.