November 29, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Claims Three Members of Hostage Family Killed

November 29, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Claims Three Members of Hostage Family Killed

Latest Developments

Hamas made unverified claims on November 29 that an Israeli mother and her two children died in captivity from Israeli airstrikes. The family has been an icon of the Gaza hostage crisis. Shira Bibas, her husband Yarden, and their children Kfir and Ariel were among the 240 people seized by Hamas during the Palestinian terrorist group’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel. Viral video of the incident showed a terrified Shira clutching then nine-month-old Kfir and four-year-old Ariel in a blanket as they were taken away.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas’s proven physical brutality is matched only by the cruelty of its psychological warfare and its relentless mendacity. It is fully aware that the Bibas family — not least the two photogenic redheaded children — have been on the world’s front pages for weeks and may want to ‘remove’ them by depicting them as a lost cause. Alternatively, Hamas may be lying about their fate as it has done numerous times in the past about other hostages. In any event, the Israelis have rightly pledged to return all hostages, dead or alive.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“For Israel, the last week has been all about bringing as many hostages home as possible. For Hamas, it’s been about psychological warfare, resupply, and further radicalization of the Palestinian public. This is just more of the same. Hamas agreed to provide proof of life or death for all hostages a week ago. The Red Cross was supposed to visit them. They lied. And Israel must soon return its focus to the military destruction of Hamas.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Family of Hostages Makes International Headlines

The Bibas family’s absence from the rosters of hostages freed since November 24 as part of a pause in fighting had made international headlines, given Kfir’s status as the youngest and most vulnerable hostage there. Israeli officials said on November 27 that the Bibas family had been handed over by Hamas to another Palestinian terrorist group and was being held near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. However, Hamas remained responsible for their well-being and recovery, they said.

Israel Still Evaluating Data

The Hamas statement on the Bibas family did not say what might have become of Yarden. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that “the barbarism and cruelty of Hamas is on full display to the world,” while adding it was still “assessing the accuracy of the information.” In the early days of the war, Hamas threatened to execute hostages in retaliation for Israeli shelling. It later blamed such shelling for the death in captivity of an IDF conscript, Corporal Noa Marciano, but Israel rejected this account, saying she had been executed by Hamas.

Israel’s offensive has so far focused on Gaza City and other northern areas. When it resumes, Israel is widely expected to shift focus to the south, including Khan Younis.

IDF Calls on Red Cross to Finally Visit Hostages, Seven Weeks On,” FDD Flash Brief

CIA and Mossad Directors Seek to Expand Hostage Deal,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel and Hamas Agree to Two-Day Extension of Pause in Fighting,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Some Hostages, Roughly 200 Remain Unaccounted For,” FDD Flash Brief


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