Israel says hostage's body found near main Gaza hospital

Israel says hostage's body found near main Gaza hospital
Israel says hostage's body found near main Gaza hospital

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - TEL AVIV — Israel's military says its soldiers have found the body of an Israeli hostage taken into Gaza by Hamas in its attack last month.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss was discovered in a house near Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

It said that her family had been informed, and her body would be returned to Israel.

Ms Weiss was kidnapped from her home in Be'eri near the Gaza border.

She had been recovering from breast cancer when Hamas launched its deadly attack on 7 October, but was without her medication when she was taken, according to the Bring Them Home Now group.

Ms Weiss worked in her kibbutz's kindergartens, managed the dining room and specialized in nursing before she retired, the group said.

She was a "loving full-time grandmother", it said, adding she had a love for culture, sports, traveling and baking.

Her husband, Shmulik, a rabbi, was killed in the Hamas assault.

In a statement, the IDF said that Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades were among the weapons discovered where her body was located.

"Unfortunately, Yehudit was murdered by terrorists in Gaza and we did not get to her in time," IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a news briefing on Thursday evening.

He did not give further details on how she was killed.

So far only four of the 240 hostages who were abducted by Hamas last month have been freed.

Israeli officials say that at least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas's cross-border attack on 7 October by hundreds of gunmen.

Since Israel started its counter-attack, Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry has said 11,400 people have been killed in the territory.

Al-Shifa, Gaza City's largest hospital, became the focus of fighting at the start of the week, and was raided by the Israeli military on Wednesday morning.

The IDF says Hamas has been using the hospital as a command centre, and has spent two days searching the complex for evidence of this. Hamas denies operating there and the BBC cannot independently verify claims by either side.

Currently more than 650 patients, 500 medical staff and over 5,000 displaced people are taking shelter in the hospital.

Its director Muhammad Abu Salmiya said conditions were "tragic" at the site, and the hospital has run out of oxygen and water. — BBC

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