Israel Defense Forces say they have discovered the bodies of two Hamas hostages near the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, a complex Israel has accused the terrorist group of using for military purposes.
The IDF announced Thursday that it had discovered the bodies of Yehudit Weiss, 65, and Cpl. Noa Marciano, 19.
Weiss was a mother of five who worked with kindergarten children before she was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7, the day Hamas launched a surprise attack against southern Israel. The assault left at least 1,200 people dead, mostly civilians, and thousands more injured. Around 240 people were taken hostage.
Marciano served in the IDF Combat Intelligence Collection Corps and served at Nahal Oz IDF base when Hamas attacked it on Oct. 7. IDF announced earlier this week that she was killed in Hamas custody.
According to an IDF statement Thursday, the troops discovered Weiss' body in a "structure adjacent to the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip." The IDF also found assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in the same place where they found Weiss’ body.
Yehudit Weiss was a 65-year-old who worked with kindergarten kids.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 16, 2023
On October 7, Yehudit was abducted by Hamas from her home in Kibbutz Be’eri. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, was murdered in their home. Yehudit and Shmulik were parents to 5 children.
IDF soldiers recovered her… pic.twitter.com/Y7tpt8nU3o
Following an identification process by military medical and rabbinate personnel, the IDF and Israel police representatives informed Weiss’ family on Thursday.
“The IDF sends its heartfelt condolences to the family,” the statement reads.
“The national task before our eyes is to locate the missing and return the abducted persons home,” the statement continued. “The IDF is operating alongside and in full coordination with the relevant national and security institutions in order to pursue these tasks. We will not cease from the mission until it will be completed.”
The IDF did not disclose the cause or time of Weiss' death.
In a social media post, IDF said it also found Marciano's body "adjacent to the Shifa Hospital."
19 year old CPL Noa Marciano was abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 17, 2023
Her body was found and extracted by IDF troops adjacent to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
The IDF sends its heartfelt condolences to the family and will continue to support them. pic.twitter.com/f7eWBUrzVq
According to The Times of Israel, Hamas published a propaganda video of Marciano on Monday. The video shows her speaking into the camera and recalling the names of her family members and hometown. The video then cuts to a scene showing her dead body.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a Thursday CBS interview that Israel has intelligence suggesting that some of the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7 may be held at the Shifa Hospital.
He cited this as one of the reasons for Israel’s ongoing targeted operation at Gaza's largest hospital, which has drawn criticism from Palestinian rights advocates.
The prime minister said he could not provide more details about the intelligence but assured Israel has “concrete evidence” that Hamas uses the Shifa Hospital for terrorist purposes and that Hamas leaders fled to the location as Israeli forces neared.
According to Netanyahu, soldiers found a command post on one of the hospital’s lower levels with “military communications, coded equipment … bombs, weapons, and we also found terror tunnels in the hospital compound.”
“We are doing this very gingerly because we’re trying to do the moral thing, the right thing, to deprive Hamas of having this safe zone in a hospital, but at the same time to neutralize its use as a command center for terror,” he said. “And so far, we’ve achieved that.”
Israeli forces commenced the raid on Gaza City’s largest hospital earlier this week after informing authorities in the area that they had 12 hours to cease military operations within the hospital, which the IDF says did not happen.
“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields,” the IDF said in a statement about the operation.
The IDF said it remained in contact with hospital authorities and facilitated an evacuation. In addition to searching the area for terrorist infrastructure, the IDF shared photos Wednesday on X of Israeli soldiers delivering humanitarian aid to the hospital. IDF said it discovered weapons and Hamas assets inside the hospital.