Body of Israeli backpacker found in Nepal
Or Assraf, 22, was found dead in a mountainous region and will be flown to Israel for burial. (Twitter)
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Israeli search and rescue organization Zaka reported Sunday that its members had found the body of Israeli hiker Or Assraf, the object of a nearly week-long search in Nepal. Assraf was hiking in the Langtang area and went missing after the earthquake struck last Saturday.
In a statement, Zaka said that Assraf's body had been discovered in an area of the mountainous region where extracting his body would be difficult. A special team with equipment designed to move heavy rocks was working to extract the body, which will be flown to Israel for burial.
“Because of the complicated nature of the operation and the few resources currently available we may only be able to remove his body on Monday morning,” Zaka said in a statement.
Reports earlier said that several objects belonging to the 22 year old had been found. The items had been in Or's backpack, his father Patrick reportedly confirmed over the weekend. Channel 10 indicated these include identifying documentation, but did not provide details. On Sunday, several informal news-related Twitter accounts have claimed that Assraf was found dead. Zaka has now confirmed his death.
Earlier Sunday, Israeli rescue teams began returning from Nepal. Dozens of Israelis were reported missing in the aftermath of the quake, but all – except Assraf – had been found, and nearly all have either arrived or are en route to Israel.
The earthquake measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, and was followed by aftershocks measuring 6.7; Nepalese authorities have said they expect the death toll to climb to tens of thousands as teams begin to reach remote villages.
By Moshe Cohen