Israel: We Found Dead Hostages in Tunnel

Remains of 2 hostages have been repatriated, military says
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2023 11:47 AM CST
Israel: We Found Dead Hostages in Tunnel
Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group hold candles and call for their release during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Israel's military says it has found the bodies of two hostages captured by Hamas. The remains of Eden Zakaria, 27, taken Oct. 7 from a music festival in Re'im, and Master Sgt. Ziv Dado, 36, a logistics supervisor in the army who was presumed to have died during Hamas' initial attack, have been repatriated from the Gaza Strip to Israel, according to Tuesday's announcement. The remains were found "in a tunnel deep in the enclave," near the home of former Hamas commander Ahmed Ghandour, who was killed in an airstrike, per the Times of Israel. Officials said two soldiers were killed during the effort to locate and retrieve the bodies, per the New York Times.

More than 100 of the roughly 240 hostages seized by Hamas on Oct. 7 have been released, most during a swap for Palestinian prisons in November. But Hamas has been "unresponsive to overtures made in recent days to try to restart hostage negotiations," CNN reports by way of a source. Qatar, acting as mediator, has suggested a deal that could see the release of the remaining female hostages as well as some men, according to the outlet. But it notes the "incredibly cumbersome process" of relaying messages to political officials in Gaza who pass on the messages to Hamas leadership trying to evade detection by Israel has become even more complicated amid Israel's ground offensive.

US and Israeli officials believe the offensive might be what brings Hamas back to the negotiating table. And Israel is eager to bring home what it says are the 135 remaining hostages, 116 of whom are thought be to alive. "Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home," Israel's military said Tuesday, per the NY Times. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum noted Zakaria was "wounded in the upper body" before she was taken hostage. Her partner died at the music festival, per the Times of Israel. The group described Dado as the father of an infant who "loved helping others, especially underserved populations." (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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