Israel expected to hand over killed Palestinians for reburial

Arab World Materials 4 July 2011 17:19 (UTC +04:00)

The bodies of 84 Palestinian militants killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers since 1967 and buried in undisclosed Israeli cemeteries are expected to be released within days, a senior Palestinian official said Monday, DPA reported.

The Israeli agreement comes after more than a year of negotiations and will allow the families to rebury their loved ones in proper ceremonies, Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of liaison with Israel, said.

A Israeli military spokesman said he could not comment on the report.

Al-Sheikh said that after the handover of the 84 bodies, Israel would still retain 102 bodies, which are also expected to be released, "without any conditions," at a later date.

The Palestinian Ma'an website published a list of the names of the 84 to be turned over. Most of them were killed in the Palestinian uprising which broke out in September 2000.

Israel has kept the bodies of the dead militants instead of returning them to their families, which caused the families to keep demanding their release.

According to al-Sheikh, the bodies will he handed over to the Palestinian Authority in the next few days and official ceremonies will be held in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah before turning them over to their families.

The release of the bodies is not believed to be linked to a possible prisoners' exchange between the Palestinians and Israel.

Palestinians assume it follows on from the release in August of the remains of Mashhour Arouri, in accordance with an Israeli High Court decision following a petition from his family.