IDF soldiers in Jenin (archive)
IDF soldiers in Jenin (archive) IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The body of 18-year-old Druze teen Tiran Fero from Daliyat el-Karmel, southeast of Haifa, was returned to Israel early Thursday morning, more than 30 hours after it was taken by terrorists in Jenin.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that "following the efforts of the defense establishment and the coordination of the Palestinian mechanisms and the Palestinian Authority, the body of Tiran Fero, the young Israeli who was killed in a car accident in Jenin, is now being transferred to his family in Israel."

Following the return of Fero’s body, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that the Gilboa (Jalama) and Salem crossings will be reopened, hours after announcing those crossings would be closed as of Thursday morning due to the PA’s refusal to return the body.

"The whole Druze community is relieved, not just the family," Fero's uncle, Edi Fero, told Channel 12 News on Thursday, upon hearing that his nephew's body was returned. "We have mixed feelings, on one hand, we are really sad and pained about the loss of our boy, on the other hand, there's a sort of happiness that his body was returned today and we will be able to have a respectful and worthy funeral. Thanks and praise to God that the body was returned today. If it weren't returned today we would have woken up to a morning of social chaos."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid commented on the return of the body of the late Tiran Fero.

"Sending heartfelt condolences to the Fero family and the entire Druze community on the tragic death of Tiran who was supposed to celebrate his 18th birthday today. Returning his body to his family is the least we could do to bring solace to their home. I thank everyone who worked in the past day to bring about this sad closure," he stated.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, "I wish to express appreciation to the Palestinian Authority for working to return the body of Tiran Fero to his family. This is a basic humanitarian step after a disgraceful and inhumane action. I wish to thank the security forces and all of the bodies, leaders, and representatives that worked with determination to return it. My sincere condolences go out to his family which displayed magnanimity and leadership during trying times".

Fero had been seriously injured in an accident in the Jenin area and was evacuated by the Red Crescent to a hospital in the city, where he was pronounced dead. When it became known that he was an Israeli citizen, terrorists snatched his body in the hospital, in front of his father and brother.

The shocked father recalled, "They disconnected him from the machines and killed him. It was terrible."

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades announced that Fero’s body is in their hands and presented a photocopy of his identity card as proof.

Israel had worked over the past day to end the incident on the diplomatic level - and this is also the message that had been conveyed to the Palestinian Authority, Channel 13 News reported.

At the same time, together with the diplomatic message, a clarification was also conveyed to the PA that if the matter is not resolved in this manner, the defense establishment is prepared to return the body by military means that will exact a price from the PA.

According to the report, Qatar, which has no official relations with the State of Israel, was also involved in the diplomatic effort to recover the body. Along with the Qataris, the UN envoy to the Middle East and the US administration, which also conveyed messages to the PA, also worked on the issue.

A group of young people from the Druze community demonstrated on Highway 6 on Wednesday evening. The protesters blocked the Elyakim Interchange and demanded the return of Fero’s body.

In addition, a group of masked and armed Druze men was recorded on Wednesday evening threatening, "If Tiran Fero’s body is not returned by tomorrow morning - we will enter Jenin."