Israel has handed Palestinian authorities the bodies of seven Palestinians killed during attacks, clashes and arrests over a period spanning six months, the army said Friday.
The move was “in accordance with government directives,” an IDF spokeswoman told AFP, and came a week after the Israeli government informed the High Court it would be willing to return seven out of 10 bodies of Palestinians from the West Bank that it had been holding.
The remaining three were not to be returned at this point because they were affiliated with the Hamas terrorist group.
Four of the Palestinians whose bodies were returned Friday came from the Hebron area of the southern West Bank, a focal point in the recent wave of attacks, with the other three hailing from the Tulkarem and Nablus areas to the north.
One body belonged to a man suspected of criminal activity who was shot dead by police in September, and another assaulted Israeli soldiers during a riot in October, the spokeswoman said.
The other five — one of them a woman — were Palestinians who had either attempted or succeeded in carrying out stabbing or car-ramming attacks on Israeli security forces or civilians since June, according to the spokeswoman.
A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks erupted last year, but the violence has greatly subsided in recent months. Since October 2015, 36 Israelis, two Americans and an Eritrean national were killed in the attacks. According to AFP figures, some 238 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant were also killed during the violent spurt — most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and many of the others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Strip.
Since the start of the wave of violence, Israeli forces have confiscated the bodies of killed Palestinians, often for several months, as a means of deterrence and to prevent clashes and incitement during funerals.