Gaza: No hostages released and no temporary ceasefire before Friday
Israeli sources say there will be no release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas until at least Friday. The anticipated pause in fighting, initially expected to begin on Thursday, will also not take effect until further notice.
"Negotiations for the release of our hostages continue unabated. The release will not begin until Friday," Tzachi Hanegbi, head of Israel's National Security Council, said in a statement, without giving further details.
The Israeli press had previously reported that the first hostages would be released on Thursday. The government even invited journalists to Tel Aviv in the evening to report on the return of the hostages.
As a result, there will be no pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas on Thursday, contrary to initial announcements, an Israeli official told AFP.
A previous announcement on Tuesday indicated that Hamas and Israel had reached an agreement on a four-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, during which 50 hostages would be exchanged for 150 Palestinian prisoners.
Families of Israeli hostages protest outside the ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv calling for their release © PHOTO AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP