Israeli hostage’s body found near Gaza’s largest hospital: army

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The Israeli army announced on Friday that the body of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas militants during the Oct. 7 attacks was returned to Israel after being discovered in a building adjacent to Gaza’s largest hospital.

The recovery of the soldier’s body came one day after the army said it had extracted the remains of an Israeli civilian who was abducted by Hamas militants on Oct. 7 from a structure near the same hospital.

In an interview with CBS News on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there are “strong indications” that at least some of the hostages were held in the al-Shifa Hospital, the biggest hospital in Gaza, “which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital.”

Israel insisted that the hospital is serving as a military weapons cache, while Hamas and the hospital administration denied the allegations.

Other statements released Friday morning by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the troops continued operating overnight in the Gaza Strip and fighter jets struck many targets in the Palestinian enclave.

“We are close to dismantling the military system that was present in the northern Gaza Strip,” IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi was quoted as saying in a statement.

“The IDF will continue in its operations within the Gaza Strip, and as far as we are concerned, more and more regions (will be targeted), systematically eliminating commanding officers and eliminating operatives, and eradicating the infrastructure,” he added.

Israel launched a massive attack on Gaza in retaliation for the surprise strike led by Hamas on Oct. 7 which killed about 1,200 people in Israel and took more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The ongoing conflict, raging into the second month, has killed more than 11,500 Palestinians and wounded some 29,000 others in the coastal enclave, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

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