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IDF recovers bodies of three hostages in Gaza
Published on: Sunday, May 19, 2024
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IDF recovers bodies of three hostages in Gaza
From left, Itzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk and Amit Buskila. The Israeli citizens were taken hostage during the bloody attack on the Nova music festival.
JERUSALEM: The Israeli army said Friday that troops had recovered the bodies of three hostages in the war-torn Gaza Strip who had been “murdered” by their captors on October 7.

“Last night, the Israel Defence Forces (army) rescued the bodies of our hostages Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised address.

The Israeli citizens “were taken hostage during the Hamas massacre on October 7 and murdered” during the bloody attack on the Nova music festival, he added.

“This terrible loss is heart-breaking... We will return all of our hostages, the living and the deceased alike,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement after the announcement.

Out of the 252 people taken hostage that day, 125 are still being held inside the Gaza Strip, including 37 the army says are dead.

The Hostages Families Forum said the recovery of the bodies was a “painful and stark reminder that we must swiftly bring back all our brothers and sisters from their cruel captivity”.

Louk, a 22-year-old Israeli-German dual national, was identified in online videos showing a woman lying face down in the back of a pick-up truck filled with armed men, before being announced dead later in October.

The last sign of life of Buskila, who was also captured while partying at the festival, was a call to her uncle Shimon, who heard his niece beg her kidnappers not to take her away.

Heavy clashes and bombardment Saturday rocked Gaza’s southern city of Rafah as the Israeli military announced the first humanitarian aid had entered the besieged territory via a US-built pier.

The military said its air forces “struck over 70 targets” across the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours while ground troops “continue precise operations” in eastern Rafah.

Israeli forces “eliminated terrorists in a number of battles” in the Jabalia area and parts of central Gaza, the army said.

With key land crossings closed or operating at limited capacity due to the fighting, some relief supplies began flowing into war-ravaged Gaza via a temporary, floating pier constructed by the United States.

The Israeli army said 310 pallets began moving ashore in “the first entry of humanitarian aid through the floating pier”.

In the coming days, around 500 tonnes of aid are expected to be delivered to Gaza through the pier, according to US Central Command.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 35,386 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to data provided by the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

The toll includes at least 83 deaths over the past 24 hours, said a ministry statement on Saturday.

Meanwhile Israel said it killed two senior Islamic Jihad militants in separate air strikes in the northern West Bank and in Rafah.

The armed wing of Islamic Jihad confirmed that a local commander was killed in an overnight strike on the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. 

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