Updated Nov 17, 2023 - World

Israeli military says it found bodies of two hostages held by Hamas in Gaza

This photograph taken in Brussels on October 26, 2023 shows a poster and candles displayed during a press conference organised by Europe Israel Press Association with families of Israelis killed or held captive by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

A poster shows and candles displayed during a press conference organized by Europe Israel Press Association with families of Israelis killed or held captive by Hamas. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty images

The Israeli military on Friday said it found the body of a second woman who was abducted by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

The big picture: The Israeli Defense Forces said the body of 19-year-old Noa Marciano, an Israeli soldier, was found in an area "adjacent to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza." A day earlier, the IDF said it had found the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss in a "structure adjacent to the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip and was transferred to Israeli territory."

  • It's unclear how the women died and if the bodies were found together.
  • Hamas did not immediately comment on the Israeli military's statement.
  • The militant group on Monday released a video showing Marciano alive in captivity early in the war. It later showed images of her lifeless body. Hamas claimed she was killed in an Israeli strike.

Zoom out: An Israeli official said on Thursday Weiss' body was one of roughly 100 bodies that IDF soldiers took during its operation in the Al-Shifa compound and surrounding areas. The director of the hospital told Al Jazeera early Thursday that the IDF had taken several bodies that were in or outside of the hospital.

  • The IDF continued its raid of Al-Shifa hospital for a third day on Friday.
  • Prior to the raid, Israel and the U.S. said, without specifying, that they have evidence that Hamas houses its headquarters and tunnels under the hospital — a claim the militant group and hospital workers deny.
  • On Thursday, the IDF published a video it said showed a tunnel shaft at the hospital. Axios has not been able to verify the claims.

What they're saying: "The national task before our eyes is to locate the missing and return the abducted persons home," the IDF said in a statement on Thursday.

  • "The IDF is operating alongside and in full coordination with the relevant national and security institutions in order to pursue these tasks."
  • About 240 people were abducted and taken to Gaza during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
  • Four hostages have since been released and one has been rescued.

President Biden on Friday spoke to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and discussed efforts to release hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, per a source with direct knowledge.

  • It was the second call between Biden and the emir in less than a week.
  • Biden's adviser Brett McGurk to travel to Doha on Saturday.

State of play: Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said on Friday that there was no deal at the moment for the release of hostages held by Hamas.

  • "There is no agreement on any of the issues," he added. "We are adamant that any such deal will have to lead to a massive release of hostages."

Zoom in: The IDF on Wednesday claimed it found "technological assets, along with military and combat equipment" used by Hamas in one of the departments of Al-Shifa hospital and released photos of guns it said were found at the hospital. A Hamas official told Al Jazeera the claims were "a farce."

  • On Thursday, the IDF said it found "information and footage pertaining to the hostages abducted from Israel were found on computers and other technological equipment. These have been transferred for further examination and investigation." Hamas ha said Israel's claims are "ridiculous."

Go deeper: Gaza hostage talks focus on length of proposed ceasefire

Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated with additional details throughout.

Go deeper