‘You wrapped me in love’: Three Israeli hostages from Gaza laid to rest

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‘You wrapped me in love’: Three Israeli hostages from Gaza laid to rest

The IDF announced it had uncovered the bodies of Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter from Gaza on Friday

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Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The bodies of hostages Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter were laid to rest on Sunday, seven months after they were killed.

IDF announced it had uncovered their bodies on Friday night in a military operation in Gaza.

All three were kidnapped from the Nova Music festival on October 7. Shani Louk’s body was dragged through Gaza on a pickup truck with terrorists celebrating her kidnapping.

Louk, 22, was laid to rest in Srigim near Beit Shemesh, with her mother saying it was a “relief when the army informed us that they’d found her body and that it was complete.”

Louk was declared dead in October after the army found fractions of her skull. But the families of Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter were still hoping that they were alive in Gaza.

Thousands turned up to Buskila’s funeral at the cemetery in Kiryat Gat. “I prayed for a different ending to the torment I’ve been through. I was lucky to have you for 28 years. You wrapped me in love, you were my inspiration… you entered the hearts of the people of Israel,” Amit’s mother, Ilana Buskila, said at the funeral.

The family if 56-year-old Itzhak Gelerenter had asked media not to attend the funeral, but his brother Itay told Army Radio that the family can be comforted by the fact that “we have a grave, we have somewhere to cry, somewhere to fall apart.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to say goodbye properly. There is comfort in that.. this is the first time I have said ‘good morning’ since October 7, specifically on the day of my father’s funeral, because the lack of knowledge [about him] has been too heavy a weight to walk around with and live with,” Itzhik’s daughter, Yarden, told 103FM radio.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement after the IDF announced it had retrieved the three bodies, saying: “This terrible loss is heart-breaking. My wife Sara and I grieve with the families; all of our hearts are with them in their hour of heavy sorrow. We will return all of our hostages, the living and the deceased alike. I commend our brave forces whose determined action has returned the sons and daughters to their own border.”

President Herzog also offered his condolences to the families, saying: “My heart goes out in sympathy to the grieving and tormented families of the hostages Itzhak Gelerenter, Amit Buskila and Shani Louk, whose bodies were rescued from Gaza and will be brought for eternal rest in Israel.”

“My thanks go to the IDF, the Shin Bet and the security forces for their tireless efforts, as we all carry the hope and prayer for the speedy return of all the other hostages. May the memory of those we have lost be blessed.”

The body of 53-year-old hostage Ron Benjamin was also retrieved, but the announcement was made on Saturday evening. He was killed while biking near the Gaza border on October 7 and then borough to Gaza.

Benjamin will be laid to rest on Monday.

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