Israeli military says hostage release effort is currently underway after brief delay – National |

Work on releasing a second group of Israeli and foreign hostages from Gaza was going ahead, Israel’s chief military spokesperson said on Saturday, after a brief holdup appeared to have been resolved with the help of Qatari negotiators.

“The effort tonight is advancing,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a regular briefing.

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Saturday that it had decided to delay the second round of hostage releases until Israel is committed to letting aid trucks enter northern Gaza.

Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades added that the hostage releases would be delayed if Israel did not adhere to the agreed terms for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In response, an Israeli military spokesperson told French television channel BFM that Israel fully respected the truce.

Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, told the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV channel that the suspension was due to violations of the truce committed by Israel “linked to aid (entering Gaza), in addition to shootings and the rising death toll… Some of (these violations) happened yesterday, and repeated today,” Hamdan said.

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There was no immediate comment from the ICRC on whether the release of hostages and detainees had been delayed.