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Body of hostage Yehudit Weiss recovered in building near Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital, IDF says

Israeli hostage's body found, IDF says
Body of Israeli hostage found near Al-Shifa, IDF says 10:25

The body of Yehudit Weiss, who was abducted by Hamas from kibbutz Be'eri during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, was found in a building near Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital, the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement Thursday.

The IDF said authorities informed Weiss' family of her death after "an identification procedure carried out by medical officials and military rabbis." It did not specify how or when Weiss was killed.

The IDF said "military equipment and weapons of the Kalashnikov type and an RPG missile were also found" in the same building as Weiss' body near Al-Shifa hospital. The IDF also said it recovered guns and grenades from the medical facility itself and that it found a tunnel shaft "on the grounds" of the hospital.

Of the roughly 240 hostages taken during the attacks, two Americans and two Israelis have been released. It is not clear how many others may have been killed. Israel is currently considering a proposal for Hamas to release a portion of the hostages — in particular children and civilians — in exchange for a three-to-five-day cease-fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell there were "strong indications" that hostages held by Hamas were at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital, but they were no longer there when the Israeli military launched a ground operation at the hospital early Wednesday morning. 

"We had strong indications that they were held in the Shifa Hospital, which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital," Netanyahu.  

The IDF did not say if it believed Weiss had been held at the hospital before her death.

Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, had been the site of a tense standoff in the days before the ground operation. The ground operation came after Israel claimed Hamas was using the medical facilities as a base — an assertion backed by the U.S., but denied by Hamas and doctors at the facility. United Nations officials have said that in previous clashes with Israel, Hamas did use schools and hospitals as rocket-launching sites.

The hospital lost power over the weekend after running out of fuel for generators, resulting in babies being removed from their incubators. Pictures showed dozens of babies laid on aluminum foil and blankets for warmth, and multiple U.N. officials warned of the dangers of a military operation targeting a medical facility. 

World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called word of the incursion "deeply concerning."

Battery-powered incubators were sent to Al-Shifa hospital, the IDF said, releasing photos of the equipment and of soldiers standing inside Al-Shifa beside boxes marked, in large English writing, "baby food" and "medical supplies."

Haley Ott, Margaret Brennan and Norah O'Donnell contributed reporting

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