The Israeli army said it had confirmed the deaths of five hostages in the Gaza Strip and informed their families.

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"In recent days, the Israeli army and police have informed the families of five hostages of their deaths. An expert committee determined their deaths after an investigation and on the basis of intelligence information," Israeli forces spokesman Daniel Haggari said. He added that a military operation had allowed the body of one of these five hostages to be returned to Israel.

The body of Ofir Tsarfati, one of the people taken hostage by Hamas during the Nova music festival in Kibbutz Reim, just outside the Gaza Strip, was recently found by Israeli forces and was identified earlier this week by court officials, the army said in a statement.

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Spokesman Haggari said the families of the hostages Eliyahu Margalit, Maja Goren, Ronen Engel and Are Zalmanovic had been notified of their deaths, the information about which was based on "reliable intelligence".

A group of hostage family members said they had confirmed the prisoner death of a hostage director from the Nova music festival named Guy Ilutz.

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