Gaza: Israeli Military Retrieve Bodies of Three Hostages

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Israeli forces on Thursday night retrieved the bodies of three hostages from the Gaza Strip, chief military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Friday.

Hagari identified the three as Shani Louk, Amit Buskila, and Yitzhak Gelernter, who he said were murdered by Hamas while escaping the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 and their bodies were taken into Gaza. ” He did not say where the bodies were found.

The Israeli government had confirmed the death of German-Israeli Louk, a 23-year-old tattoo artist, in late October. A video that circulated on social media at the time showed her half-naked body slung across the back of a pick-up truck and paraded through Gaza.

But the family of 57-year-old Gelernter was “in total darkness” about his fate until Friday, and his daughter, Yarden Pivko, told Channel 12 News.
We held on to hope and had a lot of faith that the end would be different,” she said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military operation in a statement on Friday and reiterated a pledge to return all the hostages, “the living and the deceased alike.”

In response to the military’s announcement, the armed wing of Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, said it was “skeptical” of Israel’s claims and added that the only way for the remaining hostages to return alive was through a truce.

“The resistance believes that the enemy will not get its prisoners except as lifeless corpses or through anhonourablee exchange deal for our people,” it said.

Hamas led a surprise attack on southern Israeli bases and communities on Oct. 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and some 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Some 129 hostages remain captive in Gaza.

Israel has since launched an air, ground, and sea assault on the blockaded Palestinian territory, killing more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

The bombardment has displaced most of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, laid waste to the coastal enclave, and caused a deep humanitarian crisis.

During the only truce so far, which lasted a week at the end of November, 110 Israeli and foreign hostages were released in exchange for 240 Palestinians Israel was holding.

 

 

Reuters/Shakirat Sadiq

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