The Foreign Ministry reported that the body of 23-year-old Israeli citizen Hussein Hamada, who has been missing sine the earthquake that struck central Italy on Monday, was found.
A statement issued by the ministry said, "A short while ago, rescue forces uncovered the body of the missing Israeli Hussein Hamada RIP. The body was positively identified by his father, who is at the scene. The Israeli embassy in Rome is working to have the body transferred to Israel as soon as possible."
Hamada's family members told Ynet his body would be flown to Israel Wednesday night. They were told that the coffin would arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport around midnight, and a date and time for the funeral will be determined then.
Hamada's uncle Muhammad said the deceased's father was in constant contact with the family and gave them the bitter news after the body was identified. "He was one of the four bodies that were found at the site, and this afternoon the body was identified," the uncle said.
The uncles said Hamada had contacted home just a few hours before the earthquake, after returning to his room after watching a soccer match.
"We know that around 2 am he was called by a friend that lives in the same building as him and asked to sleep in his room on the second floor. During the quake he must have tried to escape to the stairway. That's where he was found," the uncle said.
The Hamada family is now awaiting the return of the body, that will be laid to rest after all paperwork is settled.
Hamada, from the Galilee village of Kaboul, was a student in central Italy, and resided at the student housing unit in L'Aquila where the deadly earthquake hit.
After growing anxious for their son's life, Hamada's father flew to Italy in hopes of finding him, but upon arrival was told the chances of finding his son alive were slim.
Meanwhile, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday that the death toll in the earthquake that hit central Italy has reached 260.
Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in the devastated mountain town of L'Aquila, Berlusconi said the dead included 16 children, while nine bodies still had to be identified.
Berlusconi said that L'Aquila Bishop Giuseppe Molinari would hold a funeral service for the victims on Friday.
The premier said some 17,700 people left homeless by the quake that struck Monday had found shelter in tent camps set up by authorities. Another 10,000 people were housed in hotels along the coast, bringing the overall number of homeless to almost 28,000.