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IDF releases more information about joint special operations maneuver to retrieve bodies of hostages

Israeli military continues operations to deny Hamas a foothold in Jabaliya while advancing in Rafah

IDF soldiers in Jabaliya on a mission to retrieve bodies of Israeli hostages (Photo: IDF)

The IDF permitted the publication of new details on Saturday evening regarding the operation in Jabaliya, during which the bodies of the three abductees, Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nissenbaum, and Orion Hernandez, were recovered. The bodies were recovered on Thursday night in a joint operation by the IDF and Shin Bet, under the command of the 98th Division.

During the operation, IDF soldiers from the 75th Battalion eliminated a terrorist who was allegedly operating as a lookout in the area where the bodies were being held. 

Shortly after, a combined unit of Yahalom special forces, Shin Bet operatives, and a special unit from the Military Intelligence Directorate, entered the area, locating the bodies of the three deceased hostages. 

The intelligence that led to the discovery of the bodies was the result of several months of joint operations between the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence.

“After the complex intelligence work, the headquarters was in continuous and close communication with the maneuvering forces in order to direct them to the exact location that the intelligence and analysis raised,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said. 

Colonel Elad Tzuri, commander of the 7th Brigade stated that his soldiers extracted the three bodies.

“It's a great privilege for us. All fighters should be proud of themselves,” Tzuri said. “There is great value in returning a body home to Israel's grave.” 

The operation was completed about one week after a previous mission that resulted in the recovery of the bodies of four other deceased hostages, also from Jabaliya.

Jabaliya is quickly becoming the largest area of conflict in Gaza outside of Rafah, as the IDF has been focused on preventing Hamas from re-establishing itself there. On Sunday morning, the IDF announced that soldiers from the 460th Armored Brigade raided a weapons depot in a school, locating dozens of rocket and missile parts, as well as other weapons. 

“This is further proof of the Hamas terror organization’s cynical use of civilian infrastructure for terror purposes, while using the civilian population as a human shield,” the IDF spokesman said. 

During targeted operations in Rafah, soldiers eliminated several terrorists who attempted to attack IDF troops. 

During searches of the area, IDF troops located tunnel shafts and large quantities of weapons, including AK-47s, RPGs, grenades, and explosives. In addition, two rocket launchers in the Rafah area that were aimed at Kerem Shalom were struck overnight. 

The IDF also said that Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck and destroyed over 50 terror targets across the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, including military structures, weapons storage facilities, missile launchers, observation posts, terrorist cells, and additional terrorist infrastructure. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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