December 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Six More Israeli Hostages Died in Hamas Captivity, Israel Says

December 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Six More Israeli Hostages Died in Hamas Captivity, Israel Says

Latest Developments

Israeli authorities announced the death in captivity of six more Israelis held hostage by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. In announcing the Nir Oz deaths, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on December 1 that the deaths were determined by a team of experts “based on findings that were collected, and intelligence.”

Kibbutz Beeri — one of the Israeli border communities overrun by Palestinian terrorists in the October 7 assault that triggered the war in Gaza — said that 70-year-old resident Ofra Keidar had died in Hamas captivity. Hamas terrorists had murdered her husband, Sammy, during the initial assault in which she was seized.      

The IDF said four residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz who had been abducted also died in Gaza. They include Eliahu Margalit, 75; Ronen Angel, 54; Maya Goren, 56; and Aryeh Zalmanovich, 86. Goren’s husband, Avner, was murdered at the kibbutz on October 7. Hamas published a video of the ailing Zalmanovich on November 16, in what Israel described as psychological warfare. 

A sixth Israeli citizen, Guy Illouz (also spelled “Iluz”), 26, was abducted from the music festival and dragged into Gaza. A group representing hostage families reported him killed on December 1. 

Expert Analysis

“In addition to destroying Hamas, Israel has set as a war goal the recovery of all Gaza hostages — no matter their nationality, and also, sadly, no matter their condition. Its forces have rescued one hostage and brought back the bodies of at least three others. Separately, Israeli authorities have been painstakingly going over the accounts of repatriated hostages and cross-checking them with other intelligence sources to determine which hostages died in captivity. This information provides some relief to anguished relatives, even though full closure will only come when the bodies are brought back for a dignified burial.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel has a twofold objective in bringing back abducted individuals from Gaza: First, to rescue all the people kidnapped by terrorists in southern Israel on October 7. Second, to diminish the leverage that Hamas possesses for potential negotiations with Israel involving a hostage-for-terrorist deal.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal.

More Dead Located and Identified in Gaza

The Israeli military also said forces operating in Gaza had located and identified the remains of Ofir Tzarfati, 27, who was among dozens of revelers abducted from the Re’im music festival on October 7. Scores of hostages — among them Margalit’s daughter, Nili — have been freed as part of the temporary Gaza truce. However, Israel said that 136 people, including 17 women and children, remain in Hamas captivity.     

Israel Still Identifying October 7 Victims

Aviv Azili, another Nir Oz resident who had been unaccounted for since October 7, has been added to the death toll, with authorities informing his family that he had been killed while fighting to protect the community. The extent of the devastation from the Hamas atrocity has meant that many remains of victims are difficult to identify.     

Hamas Continues to Deny Red Cross Access to Hostages, Proof of Life,” FDD Flash Brief

How many aid groups knew Hamas was hiding in a hospital and lied about it?” by Richard Goldberg

Israel Revises October 7 Death Toll After Agonizing Forensics,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics