Body of Israeli hostage, 47, recovered in Gaza, IDF says

In a statement, the IDF said Elad Katzir's body had been rescued by security forces overnight from Khan Yunis and returned to Israeli territory

The body of a hostage abducted during the October 7 attacks has been recovered in Gaza, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has said.

Elad Katzir, 47, was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, while his father, Avraham, was murdered.

His mother, Hanna, was also kidnapped and released on November 24 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.

In a statement today, the IDF said Mr Katzir's body had been rescued by security forces overnight from Khan Yunis and returned to Israeli territory.

"According to intelligence, Elad was murdered by IJ in captivity," it added.

"Our mission since the beginning of the war has been, and remains, to locate and bring the hostages home. We will continue to operate until it is complete."

Mr Katzir grew up in Nir Oz and spent 25 years carrying out a number of central roles in the the large agricultural collective.

The farmer was in charge of the kibbutz's many irrigation systems and was a member of its fire crew and its emergency team.

The former serviceman, who served in a combat unit, was "known for his immense love and care for the many children of the kibbutz", says Bring Our People Home, a website dedicated to the return of the Israeli hostages in Gaza.

It added that he was "always willing to help and the first one to respond when someone is in need".

Around 250 hostages were abducted during the October 7 attacks nearly six months ago, in which around 1,200 people were killed.

Israel's Antiquities Authority working in November to identify victims of the massacre at the Nir Oz kibbutz. Credit: AP

In November, a weeklong cease-fire deal saw the release of more than 100 hostages, but the war is dragging on, with no end in sight and no serious hostage deal on the table.

Israel believes about a quarter of the remaining hostages are dead, and divisions are deepening in Israel over the best way to bring the rest home.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and bring all the hostages back, but he's made little progress.

He faces pressure to resign, and the US has threatened to scale back its support over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Israelis are divided into two main camps: those who want the government to put the war on hold and free the hostages, and others who think the hostages are an unfortunate price to pay for eradicating Hamas.

On-and-off negotiations mediated by Qatar, the United States and Egypt have made little progress.

If a viable deal emerges, decisions will become harder and the divisions sharper, said Shmuel Rosner, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and analyst for Israeli public television station Kan News.

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