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Israel says it has recovered the body of Israeli hostage Elad Katzir in Gaza

A man sits in a cage with portraits of 47-year-old Israeli hostage Elad Katzir as relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages stage a demonstration in Tel Aviv on March 26.
Jack Guez
/
AFP via Getty Images
A man sits in a cage with portraits of 47-year-old Israeli hostage Elad Katzir as relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages stage a demonstration in Tel Aviv on March 26.

The Israeli military said on Saturday that it had retrieved the body of 47-year-old Elad Katzir — who was kidnapped during the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel and held captive in Gaza.

Katzir was from Nir Oz, a kibbutz near the Gaza border. The small community of 400 residents was among the hardest hit in Israel on Oct. 7.

About 50 people were killed, including Katzir's father, and 77 were abducted, including Katzir's mother. She was later released alive on Nov. 24 as part of a temporary cease-fire deal.

Israel's military saidits forces recovered Katzir's body overnight in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. His remains have been brought back to Israel. Israel's military said Katzir was killed in captivity.

In a Facebook post, Katzir's sister, Carmit Palty, said her brother will be buried in Nir Oz.

She also expressed frustration with the Israeli government, who she accused of not doing enough to secure his freedom and that of the other Israeli hostages as quickly as possible.

In an interview with NPRpublished last month, Carmit Palty said her brother was always passionate for hostages held in Gaza prior to the Oct. 7 attacks and for their bodies to return to Israel.

She added that her brother protested weekly with the families of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were taken during Israel's 2014 war in Gaza. He would often say, "We can't give up on them," Carmit Palty recalled.

Katzir's mother, Hana, was among the first hostages released during the temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in November. Carmit Palty said that her mother returned "skinny, terrified" and was not aware of what happened to her husband or her son.

"She didn't know anything and she cried for them," Carmit Palty said.

Between December and January, the militant group Islamic Jihad released two videos of Katzir begging viewers for help. His body's retrieval comes about six months after his abduction and the war's start.

About 1,200 people were killed during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, Israel says. Some 130 hostages remain in captivity, though some are known to have died.

More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since then, according to Gaza health authorities. Israel's war in Gaza had also led to mass displacement among Palestinians and severe malnutrition among Palestinian children.

While there have been talks about a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a deal has not been reached.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.