Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi HanegbiAvshalom Sassoni/Flash 90

The head of the National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, announced on Wednesday night that the beginning of the release of the hostages being held by Hamas will be carried out in accordance with the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday.

"The negotiations for the release of our hostages are progressing and continuing all the time," added Hanegbi.

An Israeli official told Kan 11 News that there is a 24-hour delay in the implementation of the agreement, because the agreement has not yet been signed by the other side - Hamas and Qatar.

"The Qataris informed us around 11:00 p.m. that Hamas has not yet signed the agreement and therefore there will be a delay in its implementation. We are optimistic that the plan will be implemented when the agreement is signed,” the official added.

The families of the hostages said they had not been informed about the delay in the implementation of the deal and learned about it from the media.

Earlier on Wednesday it was reported that Mossad Director David Barnea visited Qatar ahead of the fulfillment of the deal to release some of the hostages who are being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Barnea was accompanied by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Nitzan Alon, who is in charge of intelligence related to the hostages. Barnea is in close contact with CIA director Bill Burns, who was a key figure in the formation of the deal, along with President Biden's Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk.

The two reportedly received a list of the first hostages to be released, with the expectation that the release would begin as early as Thursday, but it now turns out that the expectation is that the move would only take place on Friday.

A diplomatic official detailed on Wednesday evening how the release of Hamas hostages will be handled.

The official stated that in the first stage, at least, the families of the hostages will not receive advance notice of the release of their loved ones.

"We don't want to inform the families beforehand because we don't trust Hamas. To cause distress to the family would be the worst thing. As soon as the people are in our hands, we will inform the families and bring them to the meeting point at the hospital. The first day will be a model for us regarding how to proceed," said the source.

"In the evening, we will receive the names. The next morning, Hamas will begin gathering the people to be released. The procedure is that they bring them to the Red Cross for transit. As soon as there is physical identification according to the lists, permission will be given to transfer their people back and fly our hostages to the hospitals," he added.