Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ron Benjamin: Body of Israeli hostage kidnapped during cycling trip on 7 October found in Gaza, IDF says

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The body of an Israeli hostage who was captured by Hamas militants while on a cycling trip has been recovered from Gaza, the Israeli military has said.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum said Ron Benjamin, 53, was riding his bike in the Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel when he was taken hostage during the 7 October attack.

The group said he was a “family man who loved cycling” and that he “used to go out for a ride every Saturday, just as he did on that fateful Saturday when he was taken hostage”.

It added: “Ron loved traveling in Israel and around the world, and he loved music.​​”

The Israeli military said on Saturday that Mr Benjamin’s body was recovered by its forces operating in Gaza.

Chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Mr Benjamin was “brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Mefalsim Intersection, and his body was kidnapped to Gaza”.

Mr Hagari said Mr Benjamin were found along with three other murdered hostages whose repatriation was announced on Friday.

The remains of Itzhak Gelerenter, 56, Amit Buskila, 28, and Shani Louk, 22, were discovered in an overnight operation carried out by Israel’s military and intelligence agency Shin Bet, Mr Hagari said.

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The Israeli military says it has recovered the body of Shani Louk from Gaza

The body of Amit Buskila has been found by the Israeli military
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The body of Amit Buskila has been found by the Israeli military

Ms Louk’s body was seen face-down in a pick-up truck travelling through Gaza in a video that was shared widely on social media after the hostages were taken.

She had been killed along with Mr Gelerenter and Ms Buskila at the Nova music festival on the day of the Hamas attack.

Mr Benjamin and the three other hostages were among the 252 people seized by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen during the incursion on 7 October.

Israel has been operating in the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Rafah, where it says it has intelligence that hostages are being held.

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Itzhak Gelerenter was murdered by Hamas on 7 October
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Itzhak Gelerenter was murdered by Hamas on 7 October

Hamas-led militants killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted around 250 others in the 7 October attack.

Around half of those have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a ceasefire in November.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Israel’s campaign in Gaza since the attack has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

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