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Israel to release body of killed Palestinian after 35 years

Oct. 8, 2011 11:53 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2011 3:14 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities will hand over the body of a Palestinian killed in 1976, via Qalqiliya checkpoint on Sunday, officials told Ma'an.

The remains of Hafez Muhammad Hussein Abu Zant have been held for 35 years in Israeli custody, after he was killed in an operation by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine against Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley.

DFLP official Muhammad Dweikat told Ma'an Israeli authorities informed officials Abu Zant's body had been approved for release after all the necessary examinations, including DNA tests, were complete.

The Palestinian National Campaign for the Release of Martyrs Bodies will arrange a reception for the killed fighter on Sunday, Dwiekat said.

Officials say Abu Zant was likely buried in Israel's "cemetery of numbers," a series of mass graves, marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years.

The DFLP official said the bodies of more than 350 killed Palestinians remain in the cemetery.

Abu Zant was born in Nablus in 1954. He was killed alongside Khaled Abu Zayyad from Yafa and Mashour Talab Aruri from Arura village near Ramallah, as they conducted an 1976 operation named Lina Nabulsi, after a teen killed earlier that year.

Israeli authorities delivered Aruri's remains in August 2010 after decades of court battles.
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