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Israel recovers bodies of 3 Hamas hostages in Gaza

Israeli military forces said Friday they have recovered the bodies of three citizens who were kidnapped from a music festival by Hamas militants last October. Photo courtesy of Israel Defense Forces
1 of 3 | Israeli military forces said Friday they have recovered the bodies of three citizens who were kidnapped from a music festival by Hamas militants last October. Photo courtesy of Israel Defense Forces

May 17 (UPI) -- Israeli military forces said Friday they have recovered the bodies of three citizens who were kidnapped from a music festival by Hamas militants last October.

The IDF confirmed the bodies of Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Yitzhak Gelernter have now been returned to Israel.

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The three were found by Israeli soldiers Thursday in a tunnel near the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Louk's body had previously been dragged into Gaza and displayed in videos, being paraded around by militants in the back of a truck.

All three were killed after escaping the initial attack by the terrorist group on Oct. 7, 2023, at the open-air music festival in southern Israel.

"Our hearts go out to them, to the families, at this difficult time and we will leave no stone unturned, we will do everything in our power to find our hostages and bring them home," IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters Friday during a news conference in Tel Aviv.

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"We will not rest until we do."

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Wednesday with representatives from 17 countries, discussing a "collective call" for Hamas to immediately release the remaining Israeli hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

A proposed cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, brokered by other countries has not yet materialized.

"We will return all our hostages, the dead and the alive alike. I congratulate our brave forces who, with determined action, have returned our sons and daughters home," Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in a post in Hebrew on X, translated to English on Google.

"I congratulate our brave forces who, with determined action, returned boys and girls to their border."

Netanyahu has continued to insist the IDF will conduct a full-scale invasion of the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah, despite mounting pressure from the international community.

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