Israel has said it will not comment on whether two people shown in an Islamic Jihad hostage video would be released because it would play into their captors’ “psychological warfare”.
The group’s armed wing released footage of an elderly woman, Hanna Katzir, and a young boy, Yagil Yaakov, and said it would release them on medical and humanitarian grounds if certain conditions were met.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: “I will, for the moment, ignore the question of their release.
“We will be the first to update the families before anything happens.”
He said: “This is a sign of life, and it is important.”
UN weighs in on humanitarian pauses
The UN has cast doubt on the effectiveness of brief humanitarian pauses announced by the US earlier this afternoon.
The White House said Israel had agreed to daily four-hour pauses in northern Gaza, but Hamas has not.
Israeli army spokesman Richard Hecht said “tactical, local pauses for humanitarian aid” were taking place.
But any halt to fighting for humanitarian purposes would need to be coordinated with the United Nations and be agreed by all parties to the conflict “to be truly effective”, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
Joe Biden signalled he was still pushing for a pause of three days or longer.