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Tzachi Hanegbi. Haim Zach / Government Press Office of Israel

Israel’s National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi announced late Wednesday, Nov. 22, that the truce and hostage release deal with Hamas will not proceed before Nov. 24 reports the Times of Israel. This statement came despite earlier indications that the release of around 50 Israeli hostages would start today, Nov. 23. The delay, reportedly due to lack of mutual understanding about the terms of the four-day truce and the release process, extends the Israeli military operations in Gaza and deepens the anguish of families awaiting their loved ones.

Hanegbi’s statement followed conflicting reports and briefings. Earlier, a senior Hamas official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, and Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, seemed to confirm the deal’s imminent implementation. However, an anonymous Israeli official later clarified that both Israel and Hamas must sign a document to ratify the agreement, which they hope to do within 24 hours.

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