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Israel Refuses to Return Bodies of Hamas Militants

  • VOA News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem, Jan. 1, 2017. On Sunday Israel's security cabinet decided not to return the bodies of killed Hamas militants as the group is refusing to return the bodies of two killed Israeli soldiers.

Israel's security cabinet decided Sunday not to return the bodies of Hamas militants killed by Israeli forces to their families, saying that the state of Israel itself would bury the remains.

The cabinet made its decision after Hamas posted a video mocking Israeli soldier Oron Shaul who was killed in Gaza in 2014. Hamas took custody of his body and that of a second soldier, Hadar Goldin.

Hamas has refused to surrender the bodies.

The video shows a mock birthday party for Shaul, complete with a cake, a baby's lullaby, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's face superimposed on a clown.

Israel's Channel 10 quotes Shaul's angry and distraught parents as saying "We have already given up on the things the Israel government says on the matter, and we are waiting for operative actions.... Nothing has changed and we are waiting for the prime minister to take a leadership decision and bring home from war Oron Shaul."

There has been no reaction so far from Hamas.

Israel's security cabinet met to talk about how to retrieve the bodies of the two soldiers and two other Israelis who are being held captive after crossing into Hamas-controlled Gaza on their own last year.

Netanyahu's office says the cabinet came up with a plan to bring back the Israelis, but gave no details.

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