Bodies of two Israeli hostages taken in October 7 Hamas onslaught recovered from Gaza

12 December 2023, 20:11

IDF said it has recovered the bodies of Eden Zacharia (left) and IDF Officer Ziv Dado (right), who were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7
IDF said it has recovered the bodies of Eden Zacharia (left) and IDF Officer Ziv Dado (right), who were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7. Picture: IDF

By Christian Oliver

Israel's military said it has recovered two bodies of hostages taken during Hamas's October 7 attack during an operation in Gaza today.

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Israel's officials identified the bodies as Eden Zakaria, 27, and Ziv Dado, 36.

Ms Zakaria was taken hostage by the Hamas-led attack at the Nova rave near Re’im, and had travelled to the festival with her boyfriend Ofek Kimchi, 23, who was killed in the attack.

Mr Dado was also killed during the October 7 onslaught. Israel had previously identified Mr Dado as a "fallen soldier held" by Hamas.

Following identification, Israel's officials informed Mr Dado and Ms Zakaria's families and have since returned their bodies home. The bodies were also examined by medical and rabbinical authorities.

Mr Dado had served as a logistics supervisor in the 51st battalion of the IDF.

The mission to recover the bodies from the Gaza

The operation to recover the bodies from the Gaza Strip was performed by the Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504, and the 551st Brigade.

Two IDF soldiers were killed in the extraction of the bodies - named as Master Sgt. (res.) Eyal Meir Berkowitz and Master Sgt. (res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot, the latter the son of Israeli war cabinet minister Gadi Eisenkot.

Israeli forensic police go through some of the hundreds of cars brought to a lot outside Netivot as they try to identify the cars and any human remains inside them on Sunday, November 5, 2023
Israeli forensic police go through some of the hundreds of cars brought to a lot outside Netivot as they try to identify the cars and any human remains inside them on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Picture: Alamy

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Amid the October 7 attack, Ms Zakaria spoke to her father in her final phone call to him from the festival where she asked him to look after her dogs.

She had tried to escape from the festival with her boyfriend in a car, when gunmen began shooting at the vehicle. They then abducted her as her boyfriend was killed, Israel's press reported at the time.

She was reported to have suffered serious injuries to the upper half of her body during the onslaught from Hamas.

It comes as Israel pressed ahead on Tuesday with its military offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers - suggesting that intense fighting could rage for weeks or even months more.

Strikes overnight and into Tuesday in southern Gaza - an area where civilians have been told to seek shelter - killed at least 23 people, an Associated Press reporter at a nearby hospital reported.

More than 17,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. Around two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory.

Widespread damage to buildings near the Palestine Tower in Gaza City after bombardment by Isreali forces, October 10, 2023
Widespread damage to buildings near the Palestine Tower in Gaza City after bombardment by Isreali forces, October 10, 2023. Picture: Alamy

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Some 90 per cent of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been displaced within the besieged territory, where United Nations agencies say there is no safe place to flee.

With only a trickle of humanitarian aid reaching a small portion of the Gaza Strip, residents face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods.

Israel says 97 of its soldiers have died in its ground offensive after Hamas raided southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 hostages.

Qatar, which has played a key mediating role, says efforts to stop the war and have all hostages released will continue, but a willingness to discuss a ceasefire is fading.

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