Israeli forces recover body of hostage overnight in Gaza operation

April 7, 2024 by No Comments

The body of Elad Katzir has been recovered from the Gaza Strip and returned to Israel overnight Friday. “The operation to retrieve the body started at 20:00 p.m. (last night) and lasted several hours, where his body was excavated from underground in a compound located in the southern part of Khan Yunes,” a military official told the Jerusalem Bureau. “His body was then brought to Israel for further identification.” “The whole effort was conducted and bolstered by comprehensive ground and air activity,” the official said, adding that they still have 133 hostages hidden away. The official identified the body as that of 47-year-old Elad Katzir. His mother, Hanna, was also a hostage but was released on Nov. 24, 2023, as part of the temporary cease-fire at that time. A joint statement from the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the claimed that Katzir was “murdered in captivity,” likely in January this year. Katzir’s sister in a post on Facebook claimed Hamas had murdered her brother, while the ISA and IDF indicated that Islamic Jihad likely bore responsibility. “Following an identification procedure carried out overnight by medical officials at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, IDF and ISA representatives informed Elad Katzir’s family that his body had been rescued,” the statement read. “The IDF and ISA express their deepest condolences to the family.”Katzir and his mother were among those abducted on Oct. 7 from Kibbutz Nir Oz. The ISA and IDF stressed that they are working “in full coordination with the relevant national and security bodies and will continue until the task is complete” to retrieve all hostages. Katzir was a farmer and social activist who volunteered for the “Hadar Foundation,” fighting for the release of two Israeli soldiers whose bodies are held in Gaza. ‘ Yael Rotem-Kuriel and Yonat Friling contributed to this report.