Israel-Palestine Conflict: Qatar-mediated truce in limbo as Israel delays hostage release
Under pressure from its own ministers, Israel says no releases until 24 Nov, even as Hamas reiterates truce in Gaza to begin 23 Nov as agreed
Israel's national security advisor Tzachi Hanegbi has announced that the deal for the release of hostages in Gaza in exchange for a temporary truce has been postponed until Friday, 24 November, at the earliest.
Hanegbi said late Wednesday that ceasefire talks with Hamas were still ongoing and no hostages would be released before Friday, 24 November.
Hanegbi gave no explanation for the delay and it was not immediately clear when the truce reportedly agreed on earlier might begin.
"Negotiations for the release of our captives are progressing and continue all the time," Hanegbi said in a statement released by the prime minister's office.
Israel's public broadcaster Kan reported, citing an Israeli official, that there was a 24-hour delay in the agreement because the deal was not yet signed by Hamas and Qatar, which helped broker the deal.
The official said they were optimistic the agreement would be implemented when it was signed.
On the other hand, Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, told Al Jazeera that the 4-day pause in Gaza will begin Thursday, 23 November, at 10:00 a.m. local time.
A Palestinian source, who requested to remain anonymous, confirmed to Xinhua that "the news is true".
Abu Marzouk said on Wednesday that the majority of the 50 captives to be released were foreign nationals, Xinhua reported.
Israel and Hamas had both confirmed on Wednesday their agreement on a Qatar-mediated proposal for a pause in Gaza.
Under the deal, at least 50 hostages, mainly children and women, would be freed by Hamas, versus the release of about 150 female and teen Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons, said the statement from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
The hostages will be released in smaller groups over a span of four days, during which 'there will be a pause in the fighting', it said.
With inputs from IANS and DW