Israel returns wrong body to killed Palestinian teenager’s family

Israeli soldiers have returned the remains of a Palestinian teenager who was killed in October in the occupied West Bank, only to be told by the family that it was the body of someone else.

The macabre mix-up, which the army called an “unfortunate mistake,” was likely to draw attention to Israel’s policy of holding the remains of Palestinians killed while allegedly carrying out attacks, which human rights groups say amounts to collective punishment of the bereaved families.

Israel had planned to return the bodies of two Palestinians – Isra Khazimia and Amjad Abu Sultan – on “humanitarian grounds”. At the time of the alleged attacks, Khazimia was said to have had mental health issues while Abu Sultan was a minor.

But when they handed over the remains of Abu Sultan, his family informed the soldiers that it was the wrong body. The remains have not been publicly identified.

“Upon return of the body, it was revealed that the body was identified incorrectly. This unfortunate mistake is being reviewed by the relevant authorities,” the Israeli army said in a statement. It apologised for the mistake and said the correct remains would be returned to the family on Saturday.

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