IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says there is "significant progress" in the efforts to release the hostages from the Gaza Strip tonight, following delays by Hamas.
"The effort to return the hostages is our moral and ethical duty. We are determined to fulfill this in any way," Hagari says in an evening press conference. "The effort tonight is progressing and we will inform the families and the public when things happen. Patience is required."
"There is significant progress," he adds.
Hagari says "nothing is final until it actually happens," as Israel is indirectly negotiating with an "evil terror group."
Israel earlier said it may resume bombing the Gaza Strip if Hamas doesn't come through on its end of the deal. Hamas for its part claimed it was Israel failing to meet certain agreed-upon details of the swap. 39 Palestinians are expected to be released.
As for getting Americans who are among the captives freed, so far President Biden and his White House team have failed to deliver. Will there be US citizens among the foreign captives released?
Update(1244ET): There are already signs that the tenuous Hamas-Israel truce could be wavering on its second day in effect. On Saturday, it's expected that 13 Israeli hostages are to be released in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners.
There are contradictory reports that the Israeli hostages may have already been handed over to the Red Cross. But Hamas has late in the day Saturday (local) announced it will delay the release of the second group. Multiple factors have served to hold up the release (it was supposed to happen at 4pm local, per prior statements): the delay in aid trucks getting into Gaza, Israeli reconnaissance drones still operating over the Strip, and certain 'agreed-upon' details related to the swap allegedly not being observed. Below is the new Hamas statement:
"The Al-Qassam Brigades decide to delay the release of the second batch of prisoners until the occupation adheres to the terms of the agreement related to the entry of relief trucks into the northern Gaza Strip, and due to the failure to adhere to the agreed-upon standards for releasing prisoners," the military wing of Hamas said on Telegram.