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Israel’s military says body of hostage recovered in night raid

Israel’s military says it has recovered the body of a man taken hostage and held in Gaza, in an overnight raid on Khan Yunis.

Elad Katzir was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz during the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on 7 October.

His body has been brought back to Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said.

He was identified by medical officials, and his family has been informed.

The IDF and ISA said in a joint statement: “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.”

They said his remains were located using “precise” intelligence.

Mr Katzir, 47, was abducted from Nir Oz with his mother Hanna, 77.

She was released in November along with 104 other hostages during a six-day ceasefire at the end of November.

His father, Avraham, was murdered in the kibbutz, the IDF and ISA said.

In January, Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad published a video purporting to show Mr Katzir speaking from captivity in Gaza.

It was not clear if he had been filmed under duress or was able to speak freely.

In the video, Mr Katzir said he had been close to dying more than once, and called on the Israeli government to stop the war and bring him and other hostages home. He also repeatedly said he loved and missed his family.

“Our mission is to locate and return the abductees home,” the IDF and ISA said on Saturday.

They said they are “working in full coordination with the relevant national and security bodies and will continue until the task is complete.”

Stories of the hostages taken by Hamas from Israel

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