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Israel recovers bodies of 3 hostages reportedly killed Oct. 7

The Israeli military announced that its troops had retrieved the bodies from a tunnel in Jabalia, in northern Gaza.
People view posters of missing Israelis on a wall at Hostages Square, Tel Aviv, Feb.12, 2024.

The Israeli military announced Friday morning that the bodies of three hostages held in Gaza — Michel Nisenbaum, Oryon Hernandez-Radoux and Hanan Yablonka — had been brought back to Israel overnight. 

"Their bodies were rescued in [a] special operation based on precise intelligence," said Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari in an announcement to the press, noting that 125 hostages still remain in Gaza.

According to IDF intelligence, the three were killed Oct. 7, either immediately or shortly after they were kidnapped.

On May 17, the IDF recovered the bodies of four other people taken captive at the Mefalsim junction, the same location at which Yavlonka, Nisenbaum and Hernandez-Radoux were seized. One of the four bodies was that of Shani Louk, Hernandez-Radoux's girlfriend.

Yavlonka, an Israeli, and Hernandez-Radoux, a French-Mexican citizen, were both taken hostage after fleeing the Supernova music festival when Hamas militants attacked concertgoers. Nisenbaum, a resident of the southern Israeli city of Sderot, was kidnapped while on his way to an army base near Reim.

The three bodies were recovered Thursday night from a tunnel in an agricultural area near Jabalia in a joint operation by IDF and Shin Bet special commando units. The Israeli military had returned to the area some two weeks ago after realizing that Hamas fighters had reestablished a presence there. The area had supposedly been cleared of the group's militants a few months ago. 

The announcement of the operation comes after the publication on Thursday of two videos showing Hamas assailants Jamal Hussein Ahmad Radi and his son Abdallah being interrogated by Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, about their participation in the Oct. 7 attack in Israel. The IDF captured the father and son in March. 

Meanwhile, CIA Director William Burns is scheduled to travel to Europe this week in an effort to jump-start cease-fire and hostage release talks. The Israeli war cabinet decided Wednesday evening to allow the team involved in negotiations to renew talks.