Israel reportedly contacted Hamas via a European mediator in an effort to retrieve the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in last summer’s war, but Hamas has refused to comply.
Hamas reportedly turned down a request by Israel to return the abducted bodies of two IDF soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
The Turkish Anatolia news agency quotes a senior Hamas official who said that Hamas was approached several weeks ago with the Israeli request made through an unnamed European mediator, but Hamas conditioned any negotiations for the bodies on the release of Palestinian terrorists who were freed during the Shalit deal and re-arrested for their return to terror activity.
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk echoed this position last week when he said that the terror organization does not rule out negotiations on the return of the soldiers’ bodies, but on condition that some 70 Hamas prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal in 2011 and reincarcerated after the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in 2014 are released.
St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul died in battle together with another six Golani soldiers in Shajaiya when their armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank rocket. His body was never recovered and is assumed to be held by Hamas.
Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was abducted by Hamas and killed during a battle with Hamas terrorists in Shajaiya.
“It is obvious to us that Oron’s body is being held by Hamas, and we are doing everything we can to return it,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon last year.
There have been previous reports of Israeli overtures to Hamas to negotiate on the return of the bodies as part of a long-term cease fire with the terror organization.
By: United with Israel Staff
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