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Hostages Confirmed Dead In Gaza

by | Mon, Dec 4 2023

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The oldest and possibly the youngest Israeli hostages have died during their captivity in Gaza. 86-year-old Arye Zalmanovich is among six hostages confirmed dead by the Israeli army.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports he was one of the founding members of Kibbutz Nir Oz close to the Gaza border. His son said his father was “called for a national mission” in 1955 to establish the farming community and become an agriculturalist. “Even in the toughest years, when there was nothing to eat and even when rocket alerts afforded him only ten seconds to reach the shelter, he refused to leave the kibbutz,” his son said.

Three other hostages from Kibbutz Nir Oz were also confirmed to have died. 56-year-old kindergarten teacher Maya Goren was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who murdered her husband Avner and killed their dog. 75-year-old Eliyahu ‘Churchill’ Margalit was the father of Nili, a child psychologist also taken hostage and released this week. He dedicated more than 50-years in the kibbutz to raising cattle for meat. 54-year-old water engineer Ronen Engel was abducted along with his partner Karina and their daughters aged 18 and 11 who have all been freed.

The New York Times reported around 180 of Kibbutz Nir Oz’s 400 residents were either murdered or taken captive during the October 7 attacks. Another 100 were murdered in Kibbutz Be’eri. One of its residents 70-year-old Ofra Keidar is confirmed to have died in Gaza. Her husband who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was killed in their living room on the day of the attacks.

Tel Aviv resident Guy Iluz aged 26, has also died in Gaza. He was a musician and soundman at the Re’im music festival where around 350 people were murdered. He was reportedly taken hostage while trying to flee from the attackers in a car with four friends who were fatally shot.

It’s unclear when, where and how any of the hostages died.

Hamas has claimed that the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his four-year-old brother Ariel and their mother Shiri had been killed in an Israeli airstrike. It didn’t say when or where. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) couldn’t confirm their deaths, but believed the mother and boys had been transferred by Hamas to another Palestinian militant group in Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis. For many Israelis, baby Kfir was the innocent face at the heart of the Hamas atrocities.