The body of Tiran Fero, a young Israeli from the Druze minority, was returned to Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Spokesperson's Unit early Thursday.
Fero, 18, and another Israeli Druze, an Arab-speaking minority notable for a history of service in Israel's security establishment, had crossed into the northern West Bank city of Jenin from Israel before being injured in a car accident.
While his companion is receiving treatment in Israel after his transfer from a Jenin hospital, Fero's body was taken by gunmen, who allegedly believed he was a soldier.
The abduction of the body raised an outcry in the Druze community, with the IDF saying it expected the Palestinians who took the body to return it as a "humanitarian step."
Israel's outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanked the Palestinian Authority for facilitating the body's return in a statement on Thursday.
"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 inhuman act. I would like to thank the security forces and all the bodies, leaders and representatives who acted with determination to restore him. My sincere condolences to his family who showed greatness and leadership in difficult moments," Gantz said.
It was reported on Wednesday by i24NEWS that the Palestinian militant factions were working on the release of the body after determining that Fero was not a soldier. In an exclusive interview with i24NEWS Arabic, the spokesman for the Palestinian militant factions in Jenin, Abu Moujahid, said that the militants were accelerating communications with the Red Cross on the body's transfer to Israel.
"Since we learned that he is not a soldier, we are working to return the body," Moujahid said.
According to Moujahid, the kidnapping was carried out by armed men from all of the Jenin factions to attempt to exchange the body for the bodies of Palestinian militants from Jenin held by Israel.
Fero was from the Israeli Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel. The mayor of the town told Israeli media that the governments of Qatar, Jordan and Egypt were involved in the negotiations to return the body.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.