Body of Israeli hostage recovered from Gaza after ‘months of torture’

World

The body of an Israeli hostage has been recovered in Gaza, Israel says.

Elad Katzir’s body was found by special forces in the southern city of Khan Younis, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said.

He was taken hostage from his home in Nir Oz, a kibbutz in southern Israel, along with his mother on 7 October.

His father was killed on 7 October, the kibbutz said, while his mother Hanna was released in November under a ceasefire, along with 104 other hostages.

Israel-Gaza latest: Netanyahu has blood on his hands, says family of Israeli hostage

Image:
Hanna Katzir was taken hostage and released in November. Pic: Bring Them Home Now

Mr Katzir’s sister Carmit Palty Katzir said her brother had been abandoned and called the Israeli government “cowardly”.

“He could have been saved if a deal would have happened on time,” Ms Katzir wrote on Facebook.

“Our leadership is cowardly and devoid of political considerations and therefore it didn’t happen.

“He was abandoned on 7 October and was abandoned for 183 days in captivity, during which he could [have been] returned alive.”

She added: “Prime minister, the war cabinet and members of the coalition: Look at yourself in the mirror and say if your hands didn’t spill that blood. You have 133 more hostages to redeem, worlds to save.”

Ms Katzir ended her post with a message for her brother, writing: “I’m sorry we couldn’t save you. I love you forever.”

Image:
Mr Katzir’s body was recovered by Israel’s special forces. Pic: Family handout

The IDF said it had intelligence that Mr Katzir was “murdered in captivity” by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

He had previously been seen alive in a propaganda video published by Islamic Jihad in December where he pleaded for his release, and again in early January.

Image:
Mr Katzir had suffered ‘months of torture’, his kibbutz said. Pic: Hostages Families Forum

Mr Katzir was born and raised in Nir Oz, where he worked on agricultural irrigation, and was the liaison between the kibbutz and the military.

A spokesperson for the kibbutz paid tribute to Mr Katzir, saying he had suffered “months of torture”.

“Elad was a man of laughter, hugs and happiness, fields and land,” the spokesperson added.

“He was especially loved by the Kibbutz’s children, members, and residents. May his memory be a blessing.”

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The Hostage Family Forum said: “The return of Elad Katzir’s body is a painful, immediate, and harsh reminder that time has long run out for the hostages!”

“A reminder that for the hostages and their families, there is no time for negotiations, no time for power struggles, no time for international diplomacy.”

The IDF said it was working with the Israeli Securities Authority to bring every hostage home and pledged to “continue until the task is complete”.

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