Israel-Hamas war: No hostages will be released until Friday


Israel’s cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire with Hamas, which will allow the release of approximately 50 hostages held by the militant group in the Gaza Strip. The deal was mediated by Qatar between the warring sides.

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Hostage release will not happen before Friday

Update 5:33 p.m. EST Nov. 22: The hostage exhange between Israel and Hamas will begin “not before Friday,” Israeli National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said.

“The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,” Hanegbi said in a statement late Wednesday.

Hamas told Egyptian reporters that the temporary pause in fighting would begin Thursday at 10 a.m. local time, The Washington Post reported.

“Talks to release our hostages are advancing and are ongoing,” Israel’s National Security Council said in a statement, according to CNN. “The start of the release process will take place according to the original agreement between both sides, and not before Friday.”

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Report: Truce to take effect Thursday

Update 6:40 a.m. EST Nov. 21: The Associated Press is reporting that Egypt’s state-run Qahera TV says the Israel-Hamas truce will take effect at 10 a.m. Thursday.

No official word has been issued from either Israel or Hamas.

Israel’s cabinet approved a cease-fire and a deal for a hostage swap with Hamas militants on Wednesday. According to the deal, approximately 50 Israeli hostages held by the militants will be released, the AP reported.

-- Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Biden welcomes deal

Update 11:30 p.m. EST Nov. 21: In a statement Tuesday night, President Joe Biden said he welcomed the deal to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas militants.

“I‘m gratified that these brave souls, who have endured an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” the president said in a statement. “From the earliest moments of Hamas’s brutal assault -- my team and I have worked closely with regional partners to do everything possible to secure the release of our fellow citizens. Today’s deal will bring home more American hostages.

“As President, I have no higher priority than ensuring the safety of Americans held hostage around the world,” Biden added. “And I will not stop until they are all released.”

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Qatar confirms cease-fire

Update 10:51 p.m. EST Nov. 21: In a statement, Qatar, which helped mediate the deal to release hostages between Israel and Hamas, confirmed the cease-fire between the two adversaries, The Associated Press reported.

The effort to free the approximately 240 hostages began when officials in Qatar approached the U.S. and Israel and established a group to coordinate negotiations, a White House official told the AP.

In a statement, Qatar called the cease-fire “an agreement for a humanitarian pause.”

No time frame to begin the hostage swap has been officially announced, but it could be announced within 24 hours, officials said.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Israeli cabinet approves hostage release deal

Update 8:19 p.m. EST Nov. 21: Israel’s cabinet approved a cease-fire and a deal for a hostage swap with Hamas militants early Wednesday.

The cease fire will allow the release of approximately 50 hostages held by the militants, The Associated Press reported.

The cabinet approved the agreement after meeting for more than six hours.

According to the agreement, 50 women and children being held hostage by Hamas will be released over a four-day period, the AP and CNN reported. Israel would release three Palestinian prisoners for every civilian freed, according to the news organizations.

There are approximately 240 hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the AP.

The release could start as early as Thursday or Friday, the AP reported. An official day for the swap has yet to be announced.

Fighting would stop for four to five days as the hostages are released and the prisoners are exchanged.

“The government of Israel is committed to bringing all of the hostages home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original report: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the war will not stop after the exchange is complete, the AP reported.

More aid may also flow into the Gaza Strip - upwards of 400 trucks a day once logistics are hammered out, CNN reported. Prior to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, approximately 455 trucks were permitted into the territory daily, the United Nations said.

Not all agreed with the deal.

Religious Zionism Party in Israel said the “deal is bad,” adding that the only way to secure the hostages’ freedom was by the use of military might.

While the discussions over the deal occurred, fighting did not stop on Tuesday with Israeli troops fighting against Palestinian militants in a refugee camp in northern Gaza and around hospitals that are packed with patients and are functioning as shelters for displaced families, the AP reported.

Over the past six weeks, there have been 12,000 people killed and 1.7 million people have been displaced, the AP reported.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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