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Israeli-Hamas Cease-Fire Agreement Delayed Until Friday, Hostage Release and Humanitarian Aid to Follow

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Key takeaways:

  • Cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas set to begin on Friday
  • Release of hostages and entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza Strip
  • Human rights activists calling for more permanent solution to the crisis

A short-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which was set to begin Thursday morning, has been delayed until Friday, an Israeli official said. The agreement, which was announced early Wednesday morning local time, is intended to allow for the release of some hostages held in Gaza, the release of Palestinians being held by Israel, and for more humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. National Security Council stressed that the delay does not indicate the deal is off. Per the agreement, 50 women and children taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack will be released, as well as 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. If all goes according to plan, the deal would bring a four-day pause in fighting and enable hundreds of aid trucks to enter the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian human rights activist Khalil Abu Shamala expressed that the temporary truce is far from enough. “We don’t need … don’t hope just for a cease-fire for a few days,” he told NBC News in Khan Younis. “We need to end this crisis, this genocide, this war.”

Israeli National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said Wednesday in a statement that the start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday. He added that contacts on the release of hostages are advancing and continuing constantly.

The cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas is set to begin on Friday, with the release of hostages and the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. While the temporary truce is seen as a step in the right direction, human rights activists are calling for a more permanent solution to the crisis.

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