Doha: Israel has said a four-day Gaza truce and hostage release will not start until at least Friday, stalling a breakthrough deal to pause the brutal and bloody seven-week-old war, according to a foreign news agency.
Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi indicated the release of at least 50 Israeli and foreign hostages held by Hamas was on track, but would not happen until Friday at the earliest.
“The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,” he said in a statement.
“The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday.” A second Israeli official said that a halt in fighting would also not take place on Thursday, as had been expected.
Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, citing an unidentified Israeli official, reported there was a 24-hour delay because the agreement was not signed by Hamas and mediator Qatar. The official said they were optimistic the agreement would be carried out when it was signed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said if the truce between Hamas and Israel is not extended, the conflict will spread across the Middle East.
The Palestine Red Crescent said it has evacuated 190 wounded and sick people at the Al-Shifa Hospital towards the south of Gaza, warning that there are still many people trapped at the facility in the north.
Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, was rendered out of service due to a shortage of fuel. Last week, Israeli forces raided the facility, which they claim has been built atop Hamas’ network of underground tunnels. Both the hospital management and the Palestinian group deny these allegations.
In a post on X, PRCS said: “The wounded were transferred to the European Hospital in Khan Yunis, and the dialysis patients were transferred to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.”
PRCS further said the evacuation process lasted almost 20 hours as the convoy was obstructed at Israeli checkpoints in both northern and southern Gaza. Three paramedics were also detained during the transportation.