According to Israel's national security adviser on Wednesday night, the release of hostages under a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas would not take place until Friday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day cease-fire in Gaza in return for at least 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and at least 50 hostages held by Hamas in the Palestinian enclave.
The commencement date of the cease-fire and the release of captives had not yet been formally declared. According to an Egyptian security source, mediators wanted a start time of 10 am on Thursday.
According to the Israeli public channel Kan, quoting an Israeli official, the agreement was delayed by 24 hours because Hamas and mediator Qatar did not sign it. The official expressed confidence that the deal will be executed once it is signed.
"Negotiations for the release of our captives are ongoing," stated Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi in a statement issued by the prime minister's office.
"The start of the release will proceed according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday," Hanegbi said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of a potential delay in the implementation of the agreement during a press conference late on Wednesday. Hanegbi's statement was released about an hour after the press conference.
Meanwhile, Israel kept bombing the narrow Gaza strip ahead of the truce. Hamas has repeatedly accused Israel of delaying the implementation of the truce and release of hostages, walking back on an agreement despite being close to agreeing to it.
Meanwhile, students in Melbourne, Australia, have walked out of class to demonstrate in support of Palestine, with a similar action planned for Sydney on Friday, according to Al Jazeera.
According to a statement released before the demonstration, the students were demanding an immediate halt to the war in Gaza, for Israel to leave Gaza and the West Bank, and for an end to Australian military aid and support for Israel.