U.S.-Israeli hostage died in Gaza, kibbutz community says

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A U.S.-Israeli man abducted to Gaza during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants has died, a group representing families of hostages and his kibbutz community said on Friday.

Gadi Haggai, 73, is the latest confirmed fatality among hostages held by Palestinian militants in the territory since the day of the attack. There was no information provided about how he might have died. 

Haggai, who played the flute in the military’s orchestra, was abducted along with his wife Judith Weinstein Haggai, 70, who is thought to be the oldest woman remaining among the hostages.

Gadi Haggai and his wife Judy
Gadi Haggai and his wife Judy Weinstein Haggai 

Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum


The couple was seized from Kibbutz Nir Oz when they were out for their “regular morning walk” on Oct. 7, the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said in a statement announcing his death. It described him as a “musician at heart.” 

The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said Judith “managed to inform her friends that they had been badly injured” from gunfire during the attack, describing her husband as “seriously injured.” 

The Nir Oz kibbutz said his body was still held by Hamas in Gaza. It said he was father of four and grandfather of seven. The Israeli army also confirmed his death.

His daughter Iris told CBS News in an interview in late November, as dozens of hostages were released as part of a temporary cease-fire, that she had seen video evidence that her father was actually killed by militants, who then took his body. She said she had no news about her mother at that time. 

“The hostages that were released didn’t see her. They didn’t hear about her,” she told CBS News. “I don’t have any proof of life for my mom. Nothing.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas militants streamed across the Gaza border and attacked southern Israeli communities, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Some 250 people were also taken hostage during the brazen attack. 

Since then, in Israel’s blistering air, sea and ground assault on Gaza, at least 20,000 people, most of them women and children, have been killed, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

November’s temporary cease-fire led to the release of 105 hostages — Israelis as well as some foreigners — in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

According to Israeli authorities, 129 people are still being held hostage in Gaza.



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