Hamas and Israel are closing in on an agreement that will result in some hostages being released from captivity in Gaza in exchange for a temporary cease-fire by Israeli forces.
Details of the agreement started to come out earlier this week, but new details released Wednesday said the start of the agreement would be pushed back until Friday.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Tzachi Hanegbi, the director of the Israeli National Security Council, said:
“The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly. The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday.”
The agreement was initially slated to start on Thursday morning. It includes Hamas releasing some of the hostages it has in Gaza, Israel releasing some of the Palestinian hostages it has, and also a cease-fire of four days that will allow for humanitarian aid to come into the Gaza Strip.
Even though the start of the deal has been pushed back a day, officials with the U.S. National Security Council said there was no reason to believe that the deal wasn’t going to go through.
A spokesperson for the NSC, Adrienne Watson, released a statement that said:
“The deal was agreed and remains agreed. The parties are working out final logistical details, particularly for the first day of implementation. It is our view that nothing should be left to chance as the hostages begin coming home.
“Our primary objective is to ensure that they are brought home safely. That is on track and we are hopeful that implementation will begin on Friday morning.”
The 50 hostages that the terrorist group Hamas has agreed to release will all be women and children, and their release will happen over the four days of the cease-fire. Israel has also agreed to release three Palestinian hostages for every one Israeli hostage that Hamas releases.
President Joe Biden said this week that there are expected to be three American hostages among those that Hamas will release. One of those Americans is a girl who’s 3 years old, and she’s the only child that Hamas is holding who is American.
It’s not clear at this point whether the child will be among the first wave of hostages who are released.
It’s also possible that more hostages could eventually be released by both Israel and Hamas.
On Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said that “the release of every additional 10 hostages will result in one additional day in the pause.”
Should the first phase of the release of these hostages go as is planned, then about 20 additional hostages would be released by Hamas, and the cease-fire would also be extended.
Israel has claimed that Hamas captured roughly 240 hostages when they surprise attacked southern Israel on October 7. During that attack, another 1,200 Israelis were killed.