Jerusalem to with­old bod­ies in Gaza dis­pute

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Raf Sanchez in Jerusalem

THE Is­raeli mil­i­tary has said it will not re­turn the bod­ies of two Pales­tinian gun­men killed in Fri­day’s clashes un­til Ha­mas frees two Is­raeli cit­i­zens be­ing held in Gaza as well as the bod­ies of two Is­raeli sol­diers killed in the 2014 war.

Gen Yoav Mordechai said that Is­rael was hold­ing the corpses of two Ha­mas fight­ers killed on Fri­day as well as the bod­ies of 24 other Pales­tini­ans.

“Is­rael will not be silent and the res­i­dents of Gaza will not know peace un­til the Is­raelis are re­turned and our sol­diers are brought to burial in Is­rael,” he said. “There is a shared value for Ju­daism and Is­lam of bury­ing the dead.”

The death toll from Fri­day’s clashes rose to 17 af­ter Faris al-raqib, 29, a fighter from Pales­tinian Is­lamic Ji­had suc­cumbed to gun­shot wounds.

The Is­lamist group has been hold­ing the bod­ies of sol­diers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since 2014 and two men­tally un­well Is­raeli civil­ians – Abera Mengistu, an Ethiopian-is­raeli, and Hisham al-sayed, a Be­douin-is­raeli – are also be­lieved to be held af­ter they had crossed over into Gaza.

Hu­man rights groups have con­demned both sides for hold­ing corpses.

Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans are brac­ing them­selves for fresh con­fronta­tions in Gaza this Fri­day, the tra­di­tional day of protest in the Arab world.

“The Pales­tinian peo­ple are de­ter­mined to con­tinue the Great March of Re­turn, to free the land and move to­wards oc­cu­pied Jerusalem, and they are not con­cerned by all the sac­ri­fices,” said Khalil al-hayya, a Ha­mas leader.

Pro­test­ers in Khan Yu­nis, Gaza, hold up a mir­ror as they demon­strate to de­mand the right of Pales­tini­ans refugees to re­turn and the re­moval of Is­rael’s block­ade on the en­clave

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