No Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza will be released before Friday despite the two sides having agreed to a truce, Israel’s national security adviser has revealed.
Officials say negotiations for the four-day ceasefire and release of kidnapped Israelis are ‘advancing and continuing’, but the 10 women and children who were expected to be freed tomorrow will now not be released until Friday.
It was not immediately clear if the deal between Israel and Hamas blew up or if the delayed release of hostages stems from a technical matter.
News of the delay broke just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed during a televised news conference to ‘rescue all hostages held by Hamas’ and ‘obliterate’ the terrorist group.
Netanyahu, joined by the two other members of his special war cabinet, also revealed that following the four-day ceasefire, the war would resume and continue ‘until we achieve all our goals’.
Israel’s goals are to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and return all 240 hostages held captive in Gaza.
Last night, in a dramatic announcement Netanyahu’s office revealed that the ten kidnapped children and mothers who were supposed to be released tomorrow, ‘will not be released before Friday.’
‘The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,’ National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement.
‘The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday.’
Hanegbi gave no further details and did not mention any change to the truce agreed with Hamas and approved by Israel’s cabinet early Wednesday, which an Israeli official earlier said would go into effect from 10am on Thursday.
His statement also came just minutes after Israeli officials notified journalists that a media centre would open in Tel Aviv at noon on Thursday ‘to cover the return of the hostages’.
Under the approved deal, Israel and Hamas agreed on a four-day ceasefire during which Hamas would free at least 50 of the hostages taken in their deadly October 7 attack.
In turn, Israel would release at least 150 Palestinian prisoners and allow more humanitarian aid into the coastal territory after more than six weeks of bombardment, heavy fighting and a crippling siege.
The hostages to be freed in the process are women and children, and the Palestinian prisoners are women and male detainees aged 18 and younger.