No Gaza hostage release before Friday, Israel, US say

No Gaza hostage release before Friday, Israel, US say
# 23 November 2023 10:17 (UTC +04:00)

The release of hostages under a temporary truce between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants will not happen before Friday, Israel's national security adviser and the U.S. said, dashing hopes of relatives that some would be freed on Thursday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Israel and Hamas agreed early on Wednesday to a ceasefire in Gaza for at least four days, to let in humanitarian aid and free at least 50 hostages held by militants in the enclave in exchange for at least 150 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

The starting time of the truce and release of hostages captured by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel has yet to be officially announced. An Egyptian security source said mediators had sought a start time of 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Thursday.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Qatar's foreign ministry spokesperson Majid bin Mohammed Al Ansari said an announcement on the beginning of the truce could come in the next few hours. Qatar has been mediating in the negotiations on the truce.

"The negotiations on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly," Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement released by the prime minister's office.

"The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday," it said.

White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson said final logistical details for the release were being worked out. "That is on track and we are hopeful that implementation will begin on Friday morning," Watson said.

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