Israel continues to bombard Gaza despite hostage deal
Israeli forces continued to bombard the Gaza Strip on Wednesday despite reaching an agreement with Hamas on a temporary cease-fire in exchange for the release of dozens of hostages.
An unnamed Israeli official told AFP early on Thursday that the temporary ceasefire and the planned release of prisoners have been delayed and will not come into effect until Friday at the earliest.
The official’s comments came after Tzachi Hanegbi, an adviser to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said none of the prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza would be freed before Friday.
“The release will begin according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday,” he said in a statement on Wednesday night, adding that talks on the deal were continuing.
Hanegbi gave no reason for the delay, and it was not clear when Israel would begin a four-day pause in its attacks on Gaza, which was expected to take effect at 10 a.m. local time Thursday.
Since the start of the aggression, the Israeli regime has killed 14,532 Palestinians, including 6,000 children and 3,920 women, and injured at least 35,000 others. Over 7,000 people are also missing and believed buried under the rubble.
It has also imposed a “complete siege” on the coastal sliver, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.
On Wednesday, Hamas announced a truce, under which Israel agreed to halt all military actions in Gaza for four days and allow hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid into the territory.