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Bodies of three hostages retrieved from Gaza by Israeli military

Bodies of three hostages retrieved from Gaza by Israeli military

The bodies of three hostages held by Hamas, including German-Israeli Shani Louk, have been retrieved from Gaza, the Israeli military announced. The other two hostages were identified as Amit Buskila, 28, and Itzhak Gelerenter, 56.

According to military spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, the three victims were taken to Gaza after being killed by Hamas at the Nova music festival.

Footage of what appeared to be the body of Louk, 22, on the back of a pickup truck in Gaza emerged shortly after the October 7 attacks. Initially believed to have been kidnapped alive during the assault in Re’im, Louk’s fate was confirmed by her sister on October 30, who reported her death after the discovery of human remains indicating fatal injuries.

The retrieval of the bodies did not come with immediate details on their locations. Louk's father expressed profound grief, acknowledging the anticipated news of his daughter's death and praising the efforts of Israeli soldiers in locating her.

Amit Buskila, a fashion stylist, was kidnapped while trying to hide between cars at the Nova music festival. During her capture, she was on the phone with her uncle, who heard her last words before the call was interrupted by gunfire.

Itzhak Gelerenter arrived at the festival shortly before the attack commenced. Initially believed to be taken hostage after his phone was traced to Gaza, his fate was later confirmed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement expressing deep sorrow for the loss and extending sympathies to the bereaved families. He reiterated Israel’s commitment to recovering all hostages, dead or alive, and commended the military for their efforts in bringing back their citizens.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, representing the families of the abducted individuals, released a statement expressing profound grief and honouring the memories of the deceased.

In a related development, Hamas recently announced that British-Israeli hostage Nadav Popplewell died from wounds sustained during an Israeli airstrike. A video previously released by Hamas showed Popplewell displaying signs of physical abuse.

Of the approximately 250 people abducted on October 7, about half have been freed, mostly through swaps for Palestinian prisoners during a week-long ceasefire in November. Israeli authorities report that 129 hostages remain in captivity, with around 30 confirmed dead.

Despite setbacks, Israeli officials have indicated that negotiations with Hamas over a potential ceasefire and hostage release have not entirely stalled. Talks are expected to resume contingent on favourable responses from Hamas.

However, Hamas has suggested that truce negotiations have reverted to initial stages after Israel rejected a plan from international mediators. The White House has affirmed its commitment to facilitating these discussions, even if only virtually.

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TAGS:HamasGenocideIsrael Palestine ConflictIsrael War on Gaza
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