Passersby observe the photos of hostages held in the Gaza...

Passersby observe the photos of hostages held in the Gaza Strip that are plastered to the walls of a plaza known as Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, May 17, 2024. The Israeli military said Friday its forces rescued from Gaza the remains of three Israeli hostages taken by militants during the Oct. 7 attack, including 22-year-old German-Israeli Shani Louk, 28-year-old Amit Buskila, and 56-year-old Itzhak Gelerenter. Credit: AP/Oded Balilty

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Friday its troops in Gaza found the bodies of three Israeli hostages killed by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack, including German-Israeli Shani Louk.

A photo of 22-year-old Louk's twisted body in the back of a pickup truck ricocheted around the world and brought to light the scale of the militants’ attack on communities in southern Israel. The military identified the other two bodies as those of a 28-year-old woman, Amit Buskila, and a 56-year-old man, Itzhak Gelerenter.

All three were killed by Hamas while fleeing the Nova music festival, an outdoor dance party near the Gaza border, where militants killed hundreds of people, military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said at a news conference.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deaths “heartbreaking,” saying, “We will return all of our hostages, both the living and the dead.”

Israel-Hamas War

On Oct. 7, 2023, the Hamas militant group launched an attack on Israel, which resulted in thousands of deaths and many being taken hostage.

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The military said the bodies were found overnight, without elaborating, and did not give immediate details on where they were located. Israel has been operating in the Gaza Strip's southern city of Rafah, where it says it has intelligence that hostages are being held.

Hamas-led militants killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted around 250 others in the Oct. 7 attack. Around half of those hostages have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more. Israel's war in Gaza since the attack has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

People watch smoke rising to the sky after an explosion...

People watch smoke rising to the sky after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, May 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Tsafrir Abayov

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 U.S. 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 yielded little.

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