Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release won't happen before Friday

Thursday, 23 November 2023 (10:59 IST)
Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said late Wednesday that cease-fire talks with Hamas were still ongoing and no hostages would be released before Friday.
Hanegbi gave no explanation for the delay and it was not immediately clear when the cease-fire 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, citing an Israeli official, reported there was a 24-hour delay in the agreement because the deal was not signed by Hamas and Qatar, which helped broker the deal.
The official said they were optimistic the agreement will be implemented when it is signed.
Israel's war cabinet approved on Wednesday a four-day cease-fire with Hamas militants in which militants were to release some 50 hostages held in Gaza.
In exchange, Hamas said Israel will release 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.
The deal would also provide aid into the besieged Gaza Strip as thousands remain displaced and in miserable conditions since the conflict broke out on October 7.
The cease-fire agreement had been confirmed by both parties earlier in the day, along with Washington and Qatar.
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen "wholeheartedly" welcomed the agreement, as did German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock who called the news a "breakthrough."
Egyptian state media had earlier reported the truce would begin Thursday morning.
Netanyahu vows to press ahead with war after temporary pause
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to bring all the hostages home and eradicate Hamas at a news conference.
“I want to be clear. The war is continuing. The war is continuing. We will continue it until we achieve all our goals,” Netanyahu said.
He added he had delivered the same message in a phone call to US President Joe Biden.
Israel's War Cabinet had approved a deal earlier in the day with Palestinian militant-Islamist group Hamas to secure the release of some 50 hostages and a four-day cease-fire. 
The deal would also allow humanitarian aid and fuel into the besieged Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said the Red Cross will be allowed to visit and offer medical services to hostages that remain in Gaza after some of them are returned.
The Israeli prime minister said he had instructed the Mossad spy agency to hunt down Hamas' exiled leadership "wherever they are." Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, US, Germany and others. 
Gallant said he was torn over the idea of leaving some people behind but said Israel was committed to bringing all hostages home.
"I can tell you that I, the IDF, the ISA, and the entire security establishment are very much determined to follow through with this war until we achieve all the goals: to obliterate Hamas as a government and as a military organization and to free all the hostages," Gallant said.
Yemen's Houthis say they launched missiles at Israel
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said that they launched a batch of long-range large missiles toward southern Israel, including the Red Sea city of Eilat.
The Iran-backed rebel group haslaunched at least six aerial attacks against Israel since the conflict broke out on October 7.
The Houthi are staunch foes of Israel and have vowed to continue aerial attacks and hijackings of Israeli ships.

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