Tiran Fero was laid to rest in his hometown in northern Israel on Thursday after Palestinian gunmen returned his body following the kidnapping on Tuesday.
Fero, 18, and his friend were injured in a car accident in the West Bank city of Jenin and taken to a local hospital. While his companion was receiving treatment, Fero's body was taken by Palestinian gunmen who reportedly believed he was a soldier.
It was reported on Wednesday that the Palestinian militant factions were working on releasing the body after determining that Fero was not a soldier. The spokesman for the Palestinian militant factions in Jenin, Abu Moujahid, said in Arabic that the militants were accelerating communications with the Red Cross on the body's transfer to Israel.
Then, on Thursday at 4 a.m., Fero's body was returned to his family, following 30 hours of intense negotiations between Israel's defense establishment and the Palestinian Authority. The funeral was held later that day in the town of Daliat al-Carmel, a Druze community located on Mount Carmel southwest of Haifa.
Shiekh Mowafaq Tarif, the community's spiritual leader, thanked those who worked on returning the body. He also said, "At this moment, our hearts are with the grieving family who is now forced to accompany their loved one to eternal rest."
Fero's cousin, Adi, said there were "mixed emotions" about the return of his body, saying, "On the one hand, it is a relief that the boy was returned to Israel so that we can bury him."
"But on the other hand, we are hurting over the loss of an 18-year-old boy. We are torn. Losing a son is a very difficult thing, but at least the body was returned. That is the piece of hope in the midst of all this great sadness."
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.