Family of Israeli soldier declared dead calls on Hamas to return body

The family of a soldier who Israel says was killed during the 2014 Gaza war called on Hamas to present evidence that their son is still alive, as Hamas claims.

The parents of Oron Shaul held a news conference Sunday at their northern Israeli home after receiving a letter that Hamas claims was written by their son begging them to convince the Israeli government to bring him home.

Shaul’s mother, Zehava, made a plea to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

“Show some firm proof about the situation of my son,” she said. “The moment you present it, we will turn the country and the world upside down in order to get a deal.

“It’s important for me to point out that we, the family, have no concrete and verifiable information proving that Oron is alive, dead or wounded. We are in a state of uncertainty.”

It was not the first time in the last year and a half since Shaul was declared dead after his body was abducted by Hamas that a letter said to have been written by him has been publicized.

Shaul was said to have been killed, along with six other members of his unit, when the military vehicle in which they were riding was blown up in Gaza City. He was declared dead by the Israel Defense Forces based on forensic evidence.

Zehava Shaul called on Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to act to have Hamas return her son’s body and that of another slain soldier, Hadar Goldin, to their families.

She reminded the government and political leaders of Israel, “You have the duty and the responsibility to bring the boys home, in any way and under any conditions, and as soon as possible.”