Israel's long-awaited deal with Hamas to allow the release of 50 hostages from Gaza is now set to take place Friday.
The truce, which includes a four-day pause in fighting, will now begin 7 a.m. local time Friday, with the first batch of hostages being released at 4 p.m., a spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced in a press conference Thursday.
The agreement was originally supposed to begin Thursday morning.
Family members of the hostages set to be freed Friday have been notified, according to Gal Hirsch, Israel's coordinator for hostages and missing persons.
A Qatar official said the first batch of 13 hostages being released Friday will include members of the same family.
CNN is reporting that at least four Americans, including 3-year-old Abigail Edan — who turns 4 on Friday — will be among those released.
In return for the hostages, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners over the four-day period. Israel will also allow up to 300 trucks of aid and fuel into Gaza each day.
No reason was given for the delay in the truce, but the families who have been waiting in agony since their loved ones were captured by Hamas on Oct. 7 remain on edge.
Once the deal is done, the hostages are expected to be released in small clusters to the International Red Cross.
Until then, the strikes on Gaza continue. Israel Defense Forces said its troops have destroyed 400 Hamas tunnels since the start of the war. Palestinian news agency WAFA said more than 100 people were killed overnight, including 50 from one family.
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