Israel, Palestinian militants use bodies as bargaining chips

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ABU DIS, West Bank (AP) — Israel is holding the remains of dozens of Palestinians killed over the course of the Mideast conflict. It says the policy deters attacks and gives it leverage in seeking the return of Israeli remains held by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers. The Palestinians and human rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment that inflicts further suffering on bereaved families. One of the bodies currently being held is that of Ahmed Erekat, who was killed by Israeli forces last year. His family denies Israeli allegations that he carried out a car-ramming attack. The family’s petition seeking his remains was rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court.

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