Family Buries Israeli Conscript Hostage, Vows Never to Forgive

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MODIIN, Israel (Reuters) – The body of an Israeli hostage recovered from Gaza City was buried on Friday by weeping family and friends, with her mother telling mourners she would never forgive what had befallen her daughter, a teenaged conscript soldier.

Noa Marciano, 19, was at a military base near Gaza on Oct. 7 when it was overrun by Hamas fighters. Many of her fellow soldiers were killed, but she herself was dragged alive into the nearby Palestinian enclave.

Hamas released a video earlier this week saying she had died in an Israeli airstrike. It was impossible to verify the claim.

The Israeli military said on Friday they had found her body the day before in a building adjacent to Gaza’s Shifa Hospital and returned the corpse to Israel for burial.

Marciano’s mother told mourners that she had spoken to her daughter during the Hamas attack, saying her first concern had been over the fate of soldiers who had only arrived at the base two days beforehand.

“Today we’re asking for your forgiveness … You protected us, but we failed to protect you,” her sobbing mother said, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a photo of her smiling daughter in her high school graduation robes.

“You are resting now, but we will not stop. We won’t forget or forgive,” she said.

Marciano was one of two hostages found dead near Al Shifa hospital. The military announced late Thursday that they had recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss, 65, a mother of five who was seized from Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7.

“There’s a slight relief that we finally know what happened. We’ve been waiting for 40 days for any information, and nothing, nothing. No information,” said her son Omer Weiss.

Hamas has denied Israeli accusations that it kept hostages at Gazan hospitals, saying some were transferred to medical centres due to the seriousness of their condition and to try to save their lives.

On Friday, the group announced the death of an 85-year-old captive, saying he died of a panic attack during an air strike.

Around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, were killed by Hamas during their attack, while up to 240 were taken hostage.

Relatives of the captives have urged the government to do more to secure their release and are planning a mass protest in front of the Jerusalem house of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday after a five day march from Tel Aviv.

Israel declared war on Hamas after its surprise assault, bombarding the Palestinian enclave and launching a land invasion. Gaza health officials say at least 11,500 Palestinians have died so far under the relentless barrage.

(Reporting by Janis Laizans; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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