Israel’s military says it’s recovered the body of a hostage, ahead of truce talks

Israel’s military says it has recovered the body of a hostage taken during the as the militant group heads to Egypt to take part in a new round of ceasefire talks.
The recovery of the body brings to 12 the which the army says it has brought home from Gaza during the war.

The Israeli army said in a statement on Saturday that “the body of the abductee Elad Katzir, who according to intelligence was murdered in captivity by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation, was rescued overnight from Khan Yunis and returned to Israeli territory”.

An Israeli protester holds a placard with a picture of deceased hostage, Elad Katzir. Source: EPA / Abir Sultan

Katzir, 47 at the time of attack, was abducted from Nir Oz kibbutz community along with his mother Hanna.

in the war in Gaza. Katzir’s father was killed during the attack at the kibbutz, the army said.
The army said its intelligence suggested that Katzir was murdered in mid-January, shortly after Islamic Jihad released a video footage showing him in captivity.
“He was buried in the ground,” a military official told journalists at a briefing.

Following intelligence, troops reached the site and “began excavation” work to recover his body, the official said.

The recovery of the body gave no comfort to Katzir’s sister, who expressed fury at the authorities.
“Elad was kidnapped from his home in Nir Oz in one piece,” Carmit Palty Katzir wrote on her Facebook page.
She blamed the Israeli authorities for her brother’s death, saying he would have returned alive had the authorities agreed to a new truce deal.
“Our leadership is cowardly and driven by political consideration, which is why this deal has not happened yet,” she wrote.

Hamas to send team to ceasefire talks

Meanwhile, American, Israeli, and Hamas negotiators are expected in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, on Sunday in a renewed push for a ceasefire and hostage release deal in a war that has now reached the half-year mark.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, wants any deal to bring about an end to the war and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has said that, after any truce, it would topple the militant group.

Ahead of the weekend talks, US President Joe Biden wrote to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar urging them to secure commitments from Hamas to “agree to and abide by a deal”, a senior administration official told the AFP news agency.

Stop-start talks have made no headway since the only one since the start of the war, saw the exchange of some hostages for Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel.
Washington blames the lack of a deal on Hamas’s refusal to release sick and other vulnerable hostages. Qatar has said Israeli objections to the return of displaced Gazans are the main obstacle.
More than 33,000 people in Gaza have been killed since Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation to the militants’ 7 October attack.
Hamas killed 12,00 Israelis and took more than 200 hostages in their assault.
Hamas’s stated aim is to establish a Palestinian state and stop the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, illegal under international law.
Hamas in its entirety is listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and seven other countries, including Australia. But the United Nations Assembly rejected classifying Hamas as a terrorist group in a 2018 vote.

In 2021 the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories dating back to 2014, including the recent attacks of both Israel and Hamas.

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