Israel army says body of hostage found near Gaza hospital

Israeli officials say around 240 people were taken hostage during the Hamas attacks which killed some 1,200 people

By AFP

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 11:24 PM

Israeli soldiers near Gaza's largest hospital have found the body of a hostage seized by Hamas militants in their attacks on southern Israel on October 7, the army said Thursday.

Israeli special forces earlier raided Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital, an army official said, adding footage relating to hostages had been found on computers at the facility.

Hamas says the operation has severely damaged the hospital, a focal point of Israel's war on Hamas.

The body of Yehudit Weiss, an Israeli woman who was abducted from her Gaza border community on October 7, "was extracted by IDF (army) troops from a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa hospital", an army statement said.

Israeli officials say around 240 people were taken hostage during the Hamas attacks which killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Hamas government officials say Israel's bombardment and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip since then have killed more than 11,500 people, also mostly civilians and including thousands of children.

Israel claims Hamas had uses Al-Shifa as a base, a charge the Islamist movement denies.

According to the army statement, "military equipment including Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs" were found in the same location as Weiss's body.

Earlier, an Israeli official said troops were operating inside the sprawling facility, "proceeding one building at a time, searching each floor, all while hundreds of patients and medical staff remain in the complex".

Intelligence materials including equipment "belonging to Hamas" had been found at Al-Shifa, they said.

The official said the items belonging to Hamas had been taken for "further examination and investigation".

An AFP journalist in the hospital said hundreds of soldiers were involved in the operation, encircling buildings and using armoured bulldozers to push through walls.

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