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Israel to return bodies of Palestinian militants

Updated: 2014-01-20 10:31
( Xinhua)

JERUSALEM -- Israel is preparing to return the bodies of 36 Palestinian militants buried in its foreign enemy graveyards, an Israeli official confirmed to Xinhua Sunday.

On late Sunday or early Monday, the body of Fatah militant Majdi Hanfar will be the first that Israel hands over to the Palestinian Authority.

According to Palestinian reports, the next two bodies will be handed over on Tuesday, and the rest will be gradually released throughout the upcoming weeks.

No official statement was given by Israel about the release and the official who spoke with Xinhua requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Israeli and Palestinian media outlets reported in October that the bodies would be handed over to the Palestinian Authority as early as November and would be transferred to the Pathological Institute in Ramallah and then to their families in the West Bank.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled to hand over the bodies, siding with the families of the militants, who petitioned against Israel for holding on to the bodies of their relatives.

Hanfar, whose body is the first to be delivered, died in a clash between Palestinians and Israeli security forces 12 years ago. He was suspected of trying to carry out a militant attack against Israeli soldiers.

In 2012, Israel returned 91 bodies of deceased alleged Palestinian militants, 79 of whom were brought to the West Bank while the others were sent to the Gaza Strip.

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