Top Netanyahu aide announces delay in hostage releases, which won’t start until Friday

File: National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
File: National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In a surprising delay, National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi announces that the first hostages will not be released until Friday.

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said earlier today that the deal would go into effect at 10 a.m. on Thursday and hours later, a senior Israeli official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity confirmed as much.

But in a statement in which he asserts that the talks are constantly progressing, Hanegbi says “The release will begin according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday.”

An Israeli official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity explains the delay, saying that contrary to what was previously understood in Jerusalem, both Israel and Hamas need to sign onto a document ratifying the agreement in order for it to enter into place.

The document will hopefully be signed within the next 24 hours, in time for the first hostages to be released on Friday, the Israeli official says.

Contrary to an earlier report in Channel 12, which claimed that Mossad chief David Barnea received a list of the first batch of hostages slated for release, the Israeli official says he does not believe one has been received yet either.

Barnea was in Doha today with Gen. Nitzan Alon, who has held the hostage file for the IDF. The two reportedly met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to discuss final details of the hostage deal.

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