Sunday, June 23, 2024

Israel recovers body of Mexican held hostage in Gaza

Israel’s military announced the recovery of the bodies of three hostages taken to Gaza by Hamas on Oct. 7, including that of Mexican man Orión Hernández Radoux.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on social media on Friday that the bodies of Hernández, Israeli-Brazilian man Michel Nisenbaum and Israeli man Hanan Yablonka were “rescued overnight” during a joint IDF and Israeli Security Agency operation in Jabaliya, located near Gaza City in the north of Palestine.

Orión Hernández and girlfriend Shani Louk were taken hostage by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7
Orión Hernández Radoux with his girlfriend Shani Louk, who was found dead on Oct. 30. (Social media)

The IDF said that the bodies were “brought back to Israel.”

It said that all three men “were murdered during the October 7 Massacre” in Israel “and were abducted to Gaza by Hamas terrorists.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on X that “we have a national and moral duty to do everything we can to return our hostages — the living and the deceased — and that is what we are doing.”

Orión Hernández, who was also a French citizen, was attempting to flee a music festival in southern Israel when he was killed and/or abducted by Hamas members. His German-Israeli girlfriend Shani Louk was also taken hostage. Her body and those of three other hostages were recovered from Gaza last week.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a group formed by the families of people abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7, said in a statement on Friday that Hernández was a “resident of Mexico, and father to a young daughter.”

“[He] was taken hostage from the Nova Festival, which he attended with his partner, Shani Louk, and their friend Keshet Casarotti, both of whom were also murdered by Hamas terrorists,” the group said.

“Orión, who had a deep love for music and dancing, worked as a music producer and visited music festivals around the world,” the statement added.

Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena said on X that she was “deeply saddened” by the news of the death of Hernández, who was in his early 30s.

She said that he died “at the hands of Hamas whose actions we unequivocally condemn.”

Bárcena said she was in contact with the man’s father, Sergio Hernández, and that the government was providing him with support.

Mexico “never stopped” in its efforts to secure the release of Hernández, she added.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged at his Friday morning press conference that the man’s body had been found in Gaza.

“I send a hug to his relatives, to his father who lives, I am told, in Chile,” he said.

The discovery of Hernández’s body comes almost six months after a Mexican woman who was taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, Ilana Gritzewsky Camhi, was released from Gaza.

More than 250 people were taken hostage by Hamas when gunmen attacked Israel last October, killing around 1,200 people. According to Israeli authorities, there are still around 130 hostages in Gaza.

Two other Mexican women were trapped in Gaza amid Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the coastal enclave. However, doctors Michelle Ravel and Bárbara Lango, both of whom had been living in Gaza for some time and were not taken hostage, crossed into Egypt in early November.

The Mexican Air Force evacuated over 700 Mexicans from Israel on several flights in October.

At least 35,800 Palestinians — the majority women and children — have been killed in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

With reports from AFP, Reforma, BBC News and Expansión Política

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