Israel recovers the bodies of three more hostages in Gaza operation

Bodies of three Israeli hostages kidnapped and killed by Hamas militants were recovered in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said Friday.

The three deceased hostages −Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum and Orion Hernandez Radoux − were recovered in a joint operation by the army and the intelligence services in northern Gaza where there has been intense fighting in recent days.

Yablonka, 42 and Hernandez Radoux, 30, were among those attacked by Hamas while attending the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7. Hernandez Radoux's girlfriend, Shani Louk was also killed at the festival. Her body was recovered last week with that of two other hostages.

Nisenbaum, 65, was killed while going to take care of his granddaughter.

Orion Hernandez Radoux, Michel Nisenbaum, Hanan Yablonka
Orion Hernandez Radoux, Michel Nisenbaum, Hanan Yablonka

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After their bodies were retrieved by IDF troops overnight, they were transferred to medical professionals for a forensics examination and identification, according to a statement by the IDF. Families were then notified.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences and reiterated his commitment to bringing all of the hostages home.

"I commend the IDF forces and the security services for acting with great courage in enemy territory in order to return them to their families for a Jewish burial," he said in a statement.

Related: Israel recovers the bodies of three more hostages in Gaza operation

The morning of Oct. 7, Hamas fighters infiltrated southern Israel in a sea, air and ground assault that ended in the slaughtering of 1,200 people. More than 240 were taken hostage into Gaza. As of this report, 125 are believed to be held by the militant group.

"We have a national and moral obligation to do our utmost to return our hostages – the living and the deceased – and this is what we are doing," Netanyahu said.

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters, a coalition of hostage families advocating for their release also known as Bring Them Home Now, issued a statement saying, "the sorrowful return of Michel, Hanan, and Orion is another heartbreak for the 125 families of the hostages, who share the pain, sorrow and endless worry."

"The return of their bodies is a silent but resolute reminder that the State of Israel is obligated to immediately dispatch negotiation teams with a clear demand to bring about a deal that will swiftly return all the hostages home," the group said.

Contributing: Reuters

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hostages found in Gaza: IDF recovers 3 more bodies taken on Oct. 7