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JERUSALEM: The Red Cross on Friday denied reports that it was involved in the transfer of dozens of Palestinian bodies from Israel to Gaza, where Israeli forces have been battling Hamas.

Hamas government sources said on Tuesday that Israel returned the bodies of 80 Palestinians killed in Gaza after taking them from morgues and graves to check there were no hostages among them.

The bodies, the sources added, were returned through the Red Cross to Hamas authorities who buried them in a mass grave in Gaza.

“We are aware of reports stating that the International Committee of the Red Cross was involved in the recent transfer of bodies from Israel to Gaza,” the humanitarian organisation said in a statement.

Israeli forces recover the bodies of a civilian, two soldiers held in Gaza: army

“We were not involved in this operation at any stage.”

The Israeli army has not commented on the alleged transfer of bodies.

Around 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip by Hamas when they attacked southern Israel on October 7. The attack left around 1,140 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Some 129 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, following the October 7 attack.

More than 21,500 people have been killed in its retaliatory assault in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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