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Israel to return the remains of 36 Palestinians

Jan. 18, 2014 11:12 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2014 8:39 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel will return the remains of 36 Palestinians currently held in Israeli "numbered graves," a Palestinian committee spokesman told Ma'an.

Salim Khillah, a spokesman for a committee to retrieve Palestinian remains from Israeli custody, said Friday that Israel had agreed to release the remains as a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations.

He said the remains would be delivered next Sunday.

The remains of one Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in 2002, Majdi Abd al-Jawad Khanfar, will be returned on Sunday at 8 p.m to the Taybeh checkpoint near Tulkarem, Khillah said.

A military funeral will be held in Khanfar's home village of Silat al-Dhahir, he added.

The delivery of the remains is the result of a Supreme Court decision, the spokesman for an Israeli human rights group told Ma'an Thursday.

A spokesman for HaMoked said that the decision came in response to the organization's demands for the release of the remains of every Palestinian currently held in Israel's custody.

He said a DNA match for Khanfar's body had already been confirmed, but that DNA tests for the others were still yet to be completed.

Khanfar was killed on March 30, 2002 after he and another member of Fatah's military wing attacked an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, killing an Israeli soldier.
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