Israel announces that the release of the 50 hostages held by Hamas would begin on Friday

JERUSALEM — No Israeli hostages held Hamas will be released nor will there be a truce between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group before Friday, Israeli authorities announced.

There will be no “pause” in the fighting, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, delaying the truce that was expected to begin at 10:00 a.m. local time, according to another Israeli source.

“The negotiations for the release of our hostages “they do not stop,” Tzachi Hanegbi, head of the Israeli National Security Council, said in a statement, adding that “the releases will begin according to the original agreement between the parties and not before Friday.”

Neither of the two sources gave further explanations.

The Israeli press initially reported a plan to release the first hostages at noon. The government office even invited journalists to Tel Aviv in the evening to a press center dedicated to the “return of the hostages.”

Israel and Hamas announced this Wednesday an agreement that provides for the release of 50 hostages held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for 150 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, and a four-day truce in the Palestinian territory.

The war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7 due to the terrorist group’s unprecedented attack on Israeli soil from Gaza.

At least 1,200 people were brutally murdered, burned and mutilated, mostly civilians, and some 240 were kidnapped by terrorists holding them hostage in Gaza. In response, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and began an incessant bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army has also been carrying out a ground offensive in that territory since the end of October.

According to the Hamas government, more than 14,000 people have died in Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war, including more than 5,800 minors, without the information having been verified.

FOUNTAIN: With information from AFP