Israel Notifies Families Of 13 Hostages Set To Be Freed

Israel Notifies Families Of 13 Hostages Set To Be Freed

Nov. 24, 2023, 8:41 a.m.

Temporary pause in fighting set to start at 7 a.m., with first batch of Israelis handed over at 4 p.m.; implementation was delayed from Thursday, prompting speculation on causes

A spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry said Thursday afternoon that the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas would go into effect Friday at 7 a.m., while a first group of 13 Israeli hostages would be freed on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Israel had received an “initial” list of names of abductees expected to go free, and that families of those set to return Friday had been updated, as had relatives of those whose names did not appear.

Hamas’s military wing also said a ceasefire would go into effect Friday morning, and last four days. “In four days, 50 [hostages] will be released,” Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said, confirming information from Israel that three jailed Palestinian terror convicts would be freed in exchange for every Israeli hostage, totaling 150.

A spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry said Thursday afternoon that the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas would go into effect Friday at 7 a.m., while a first group of 13 Israeli hostages would be freed on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Israel had received an “initial” list of names of abductees expected to go free, and that families of those set to return Friday had been updated, as had relatives of those whose names did not appear.

Hamas’s military wing also said a ceasefire would go into effect Friday morning, and last four days. “In four days, 50 [hostages] will be released,” Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said, confirming information from Israel that three jailed Palestinian terror convicts would be freed in exchange for every Israeli hostage, totaling 150.

It had previously been understood that the pause in fighting would begin only after the first group of Israeli hostages was released.

The deal, which was mediated by Qatar and the US, would see Hamas release 50 Israeli women and children it took hostage on October 7, over the course of four days, in exchange for a lull in the fighting during those four days and the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel for terror offenses, all of them women or minors.

The deal will also enable an influx of fuel and humanitarian supplies to Gaza during the pause, which would be the first cessation of fighting since Hamas sparked the war nearly seven weeks ago when its terrorists rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, massacring some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking 240 hostages.

Having planned to stop combat operations on Thursday, Israel indicated it would continue as usual until the deal came into effect.

Ahead of the Qatari announcement, an unverified report from the BBC had claimed that Hamas was using the opportunity to make fresh demands, but did not specify what they were.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the new demands set forward by Hamas included a stipulation that the hostages released from Gaza be transferred directly to Egypt, rather than to the Red Cross, as previously stated. A reason was not provided.

Following news of the delay, spokesman al-Ansari said Qatar was continuing to work, along with the US, to “ensure the rapid start of the truce and to provide what is necessary to ensure the parties’ commitment to the agreement.”

Although Israel has given no public reason as to why the deal was delayed, several unconfirmed reports have emerged.

Speaking to CNN, one Israeli official dismissed the delay as the result of “fairly minor implementation deals.” The United States echoed the claim, and Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, told the Wall Street Journal that the relevant parties were merely ironing out the “final logistical details,” adding that the US’s primary objective was to ensure that the hostages were brought home safely.

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