Israeli archaeologists identify human remains from 7 October atrocities

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Israeli archaeologists identify human remains from 7 October atrocities

Evidence of at least 10 dead, previously considered missing, is found by experts from Antiquities Authority sieving ash from Kibbutz Be'eri, Kfar Aza and Nir Oz

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have been using their expertise to help the identification of those murdered in the 7 October Hamas attacks — and have found evidence of at least 10 dead, who were previously thought to be missing and perhaps in Gaza.

The archaeologists were called in by Colonel Yossi Cohen of the Gaza Division of the IDF, directed by Major Rabbi Shlomo Hazut, the division’s rabbi.

Using techniques and knowledge they normally deploy in excavations of burnt and destroyed ancient sites, the archaeologists have so far found many human remains. It’s hoped their work will provide more certain evidence for families who know that their relatives are missing — but know no more than that.

Photographer-Shai Halevi , Israel Antiquities Authority

For two weeks, the archaeologists have been combing and sieving the ash from the burnt houses in which families from Kibbutz Be’eri, Kfar Aza and Nir Oz were murdered, as well as the contents of the cars from the party at Kibbutz Reim.

At first, the archaeologists looked for evidence of missing people who were known to be in their houses at the time of the attacks.

When it became clear that the archaeological methods could contribute to identifying additional, previously not exposed, remains, it was decided that the Israel Antiquities Authority would examine the contents of all the burned houses and cars.

Photographer: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

According to the archaeologists: “The archaeological methods employed at ancient sites are similar to the methods applied here, but it is one thing to expose 2000-year-old destruction remains, and quite another thing—heart-rending and unfathomable—to carry out the present task searching for evidence of our sisters and brothers in the communities.”

So far the archaeologists have found certain evidence of at least ten deceased persons, who were previously considered missing.

Eli Escudo, director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, said: “Taking into account all the difficulty and the emotional challenges involved, our hope is that we can contribute to certain identification for as many families as possible, regarding the fate of their dear ones.”

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