Israel returns nine bodies of killed Palestinians

Hebron: Israel has handed Palestinian authorities the bodies of nine Palestinians killed carrying out attacks on its soldiers and civilians, the army said on Friday.

Five of the bodies were those of Palestinians from the flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, an army spokeswoman said.

They were returned a week after Israel handed Palestinian authorities the bodies of seven other Palestinians.

A wave of Palestinian attacks erupted last year, but the violence has greatly subsided in recent months.

Since October 2015, 246 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, two Americans, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some died in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Since the start of the violence, Israeli forces have confiscated the bodies of killed Palestinians, often for several months, as a means of deterrence and to prevent clashes during funerals.

Under former defence minister Moshe Yaalon, the army had started to return the bodies of Palestinians not affiliated with armed groups.

Agence France-Presse