Body of teen stolen from hospital returned to Israel

The IDF did not negotiate with the kidnappers directly and nothing was offered in return for the body


Members of the Israeli Druze minority attend the funeral of 17-year-old Tiran Fero, on November 24, 2022, in Daliyat al Karmel, around 20 kms southeast of Haifa. - The body of Tiran Fero, who was critically wounded in a car accident on November 22, was snatched by Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank and returned to his relatives, following intense talks to avoid an escalation of violence. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had threatened tough reprisals against those who had taken the body of the Israeli teenager. (Photo by Jalaa MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

The body of an Israeli teen snatched from a hospital by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank and held for 30 hours has been returned to his family.

Tiran Fero, 17, had been rushed to hospital after being critically injured in a road smash in the Palestinian city of Jenin on Tuesday, but died shortly after he was admitted.

Within hours, according to the Israel Defence Forces and Palestinian media reports, a group of unidentified armed Palestinians entered the city’s Ibn Sina hospital and took away his body.

Mr Fero’s family, from the Druze-majority town of Daliyat al-Karmel, immediately aired their suspicions that the teenager was alive and on life support when they took him. The claim escalated tension in the region at an already-tense period.

But it has since been confirmed that Mr Fero, due to have celebrated his 18th birthday today (Thursday), was already dead.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed this morning that his body has been transferred to his family in Israel.

His father, Hussam,Fero, said later: “I can’t describe it. My heart is broken. I lost a son. It’s his birthday today.  

“Instead of having a birthday with his family, I am preparing a funeral, so you can imagine what pain I am going through.” 

An unnamed uncle told Israel’s Channel 13: “The whole family is very grateful to everyone that contributed to the process of resolving this crisis and bringing back Tiran’s body so that we can say goodbye to him in a dignified way.” 

Israeli media reported Wednesday that intensive negotiations involving individuals at the highest level in Israel and the Palestinian Authority had been necessary to secure the body. 

Israeli security officials said those behind the body snatch had been demanding the release of Palestinians held behind bars in Israel, or the corpses of dead Palestinian terrorists, in exchange for Mr Fero’s body.

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) reported that Israeli officials rejected any demand for a prisoner exchange deal. 

A senior defence source said: “We held no negotiations with those who were holding the body. We gave nothing in return, 

“We clarified that this body was going back to the family. The Palestinian Authority put pressure to end the saga quickly because it was embarrassed, and in Jenin, the kidnappers lost support after the public understood it would be paying a heavy financial price.” 

Defence Minister Benny Gantz tweeted his thanks to the security forces, leaders and representatives who acted to return the body to Israel. 

He said: “I would like to express my appreciation to the Palestinian Authority for its action to return the late Tiran Fero to his family. This is a basic humanitarian step after a vile and inhumane act. 

“My sincerest condolences to the family who showed magnanimity and leadership during these difficult moments.” 

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who said on Wednesday that if the body was not returned the kidnappers would “pay a heavy price”, also sent his condolences to the family and said it was “the least we could do to bring comfort”. 

Mr Fero’s funeral is scheduled for 2pm today, with the mayor of Daliyat al-Karmel declaring a day of mourning in the town. 

Mr Fero’s kidnapping infuriated the Druze community in Israel. On Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators in Daliyat al-Karmel blocked off a major highway during a protest.

After Palestinian sources indicated that Mr Fero’s body was being held in the Jenin Refugee Camp, several protestors in Daliyat al-Karmel, masked and holding rifles, threatened to go and retrieve the body themselves if it had not been returned by Thursday morning. 

In response, Palestinians had set up a barricade around the city in anticipation of an IDF raid. 

IDF's international spokesperson, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, said: “From the IDF perspective, the body could have been returned in the two following manners: one being through the PA, and the other being through a military operation in the Jenin camp—which could very easily end in violence. 

“We closed the Jalame and Salem crossings. At some point, the PA understood that the closures could lead to harsh consequences for the economy in Jenin, and therefore it was their time to act.” 

The Jenin area has been a major hotspot for terror in recent months as the PA is believed to be losing control of the region. 

The tension surrounding Jenin comes as the IDF conducts major anti-terror offensives to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 30 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year. 

Tensions were stoked further Wednesday when terrorists set off two bombs at bus stops in Jerusalem, killing an Israeli teenager and wounding over 20 others. 

Israeli police have bolstered forces in Jerusalem and other parts of the country amid a manhunt for the terrorists who planted the explosives.

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