Release Of Hamas-Held Hostages Delayed Until At Least Friday



Israeli officials announced Wednesday that there would be a delay in the return of hostages held by Hamas—meaning the first hostages won’t be returned until Friday at the earliest—though Israel’s national security adviser said the deal is still on track, according to multiple reports.

Key Facts

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said “the start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday,” NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported.

The first round of hostages was expected to be released back to Israel on Thursday, and officials did not give a reason for the delay.

As part of the agreement, Hamas is supposed to release some 50 women and children being held hostage over the course of the four-day pause in fighting Israel agreed to.

An Israeli official told CNN the delay also applies to the temporary cease-fire that was expected to start Thursday morning.

What To Watch For

How the hostages are returned. John Kirby, national security council spokesperson, said on Wednesday that though a deal was approved by both Israel and Hamas, “now’s the time for everybody to watch very, very closely,” and see what happens in terms of “implementation and execution,” CNN reported.

Key Background

Israel and Hamas reached an agreement in which around 50 hostages being held by Hamas would be released to Israel in exchange for a four-day pause in fighting and the release of 150 Palestinian women and children being held in Israeli jails. The four-day pause in fighting is the longest break Israel has agreed to since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 when the militant group took about 240 people hostage. Around 1,200 people were killed in Israel during the attack, while at least 13,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The pause has the potential to extend beyond four days, as Israel said “the release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause,” according to the Guardian. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that the fighting will resume after the hostages are returned and the pause ends, saying Tuesday: “The war will continue until we achieve all of our goals: to eliminate Hamas, to return all our hostages, to ensure that the day after Hamas, Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel.”

Further Reading

WSJIsraeli Official Says Hostages Won’t Be Released Until at Least FridayNBC NewsIsrael-Hamas war live updates: Hostage deal agreed to free 50 from Gaza and pause fightingCNNLive updates: Israel-Hamas war, hostage release deal approved, 4-day Gaza truce


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