Israel will return bodies of enemy troops

July 4, 2011 at 10:35 AM
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JERUSALEM, July 4 (UPI) -- Israel says it will return the bodies of 84 Palestinians and Arabs killed since 1967 as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the deal, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday. The transfer will take some time because the bodies must be exhumed from a military-controlled cemetery for enemy soldiers, officials said.

Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Ash-Sheikh disclosed news of the transfer in an interview with the Maan News Agency. He said the PA would coordinate the transfer of the bodies to cemeteries within Palestinian-controlled territories.

Hussein said Israel is holding the bodies of 102 Palestinians.

Maan said the bodies would be returned to their families.

Hussein said the agreement to release the bodies was reached "after long and arduous negotiations" with Israeli officials.

Abbas will attend a farewell ceremony for the dead and their bodies will be returned to their families, Hussein said.

Most of the dead were in their teens and early 20s, with the youngest being Amir Ali Abdullah, who died at 15 in Tel Aviv in 2004. The bodies of four Palestinian women will also be returned.

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