Israel military recovers Gaza hostage’s body in Khan Yunis raids; new truce talks set for Cairo

Elad Katzir, a 47-year-old Israeli farmer, was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz

Israel hostage body recover A woman walks past posters with pictures of hostages kidnapped in the deadly October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel | Reuters

The Israeli military on Saturday said its special forces had recovered the body of a hostage killed while being held captive in Gaza during an overnight raid on Khan Yunis. 

Elad Katzir, a 47-year-old Israeli farmer, was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz during the October 7 Hamas attack. He was abducted along with his mother Hanna, 77, who was later released in November under a truce deal. 

In a joint statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli Security Agency (ISA) said: "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."

According to officials, Katzir's father was murdered in the kibbutz. 

There are around 130 hostages still in Hamas captivity. With a delay in the new truce deal, protesters including angry family members of hostages are on the streets seeking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's resignation. 

Katzir's sister, Carmit Palty Katzir, lashed out against Israeli authorities and said that her brother would have been alive if they 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 on Facebook.

"Prime Minister, war cabinet, and coalition members: Look at yourself in the mirror and say if your hands didn't spill blood."

Reportedly, Katzir was killed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, militant group. A video was released by Islamic Jihad in January showing Katzir speaking from captivity in Gaza. In the video, Katzir was heard asking the Israeli government to stop the war and bring him and other hostages home. 

Around 250 hostages were taken into captivity by Hamas. According to IDF, they are working in full coordination with security bodies to locate and rescue the hostages. 

Meanwhile, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, 33,137 people have been killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war. 

Another set of truce talks to begin in Cairo

Hamas has said that it would send a delegation to Cairo on Sunday for a new round of truce talks. A delegation headed by the group's deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya is set to attend the mediation talks. Hamas reiterated its demands issued in a March 14 proposal prior to a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that was passed on March 25. 

The demands include a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, a return of the displaced, and a 'serious' exchange deal of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli hostages being held in Gaza, the statement said.


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