RAMALLAH, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israel handed over on Sunday evening the body of a Palestinian militant to the Palestinian Authority, the first of the 36 bodies of Palestinian militants Israel agreed to return.
The returning of the body of Majdi Khanfar, buried in a foreign enemy graveyard, is a goodwill gesture by Israel that aims to expediate its peace talks with Palestinians, Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said.
Khanfar's father, Abdel-Jawwad, told Xinhua that he was relieved that the remains of his son could now be buried in accordance with Islamic customs.
Palestinian officials received the coffin of Khanfar, who has been confirmed by DNA testing, at al-Taybeh checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, while security forces members stood by in an honor guard.
Khanfar, who died in a clash between Palestinians and Israeli security forces 12 years ago, was suspected of trying to carry out a militant attack against Israeli soldiers.
In 2012, Israel returned 91 bodies of deceased alleged Palestinian militants, 79 of whom were brought to the West Bank while the others were sent to the Gaza Strip.