Israel gives bodies of Palestinian militants to West Bank

Israeli army said they were acting in according with supreme court decision to 'return the bodies of terrorists'

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Israel on Sunday began transferring bodies of Palestinian militants killed by Israeli forces to the West Bank for reburial, sources on both sides said.

According to Fatma Abdallah, media coordinator for the "Palestinian national committee to return the bodies of martyrs," Israel handed over the body of Majdi Khanfar, originally from Silat al-Zaher near Jenin, via a crossing in the north of the West Bank.

Israeli public radio said Khanfar was killed 10 years ago.

Abdallah told AFP another two bodies out of the 36 Israel had committed to returning would be handed over on Tuesday, as part of a court ruling.

The Israeli army said "in accordance with a supreme court decision and following the instruction of the government of Israel, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has begun the return of bodies of terrorists to their respective families in the Palestinian Authority."

"The IDF is attending this assignment with the utmost professionalism and the required sensitivity," it said in a statement.

The transfer of the bodies comes shortly after the third batch of Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel, as part of ongoing peace talks between the sides.

But Abdallah said the move was unrelated to the talks and came after petitions by the families.

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