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Palestinians welcome handover of militants' bodies

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Palestinians welcome handover of militants' bodies


Israel has handed over 91 bodies of Palestinian militants, including several suicide bombers, as part of an agreement to end a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The remains belong to those who were killed in attacks on Israeli targets. Their coffins were taken to the West Bank and Gaza.

In Ramallah, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas took part in a ceremony to receive the remains. The bodies had been interred in Israel’s military cemetery, some for more than 35 years.

While Israel hopes the gesture could revive peace talks, there’s been no sign that Palestinian leaders are ready to relax demands that Israel stops its settlement building programme in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. That requirement was key to resuming talks.

The dead bodies include militants who killed more than 200 people in Israeli cities over the past three decades. While Israelis see them as ruthless murderers, Palestinians say they are martyrs to the cause.

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