May 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two More October 7 Victims Declared Dead

May 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two More October 7 Victims Declared Dead

Latest Developments

Two Israeli hostages seized by Hamas on October 7 have been declared dead. Dror Or, a 49-year-old chef and cheesemaker from Kibbutz Beeri whom the terrorist group captured along with two of his children, was murdered, with his body remaining in the Gaza Strip, his community said on May 2, citing unspecified new forensic findings. Or’s carpenter wife, Yonat, was killed during the attack on the kibbutz. Noam and Alma, the couple’s teenage children, were freed as part of the November 2023 truce between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas. The couple have a third child who was away from home on October 7 and was spared from the onslaught.

On May 3, the IDF announced that the remains of Elyakim Libman, a security guard who was presumed to have been taken hostage while working at the Nova dance music festival, where Hamas killed more than 360 people on October 7, were found within Israeli territory. According to reports in the Israeli media, 23-year-old Libman’s remains had been accidentally buried with those of two other Nova victims. They were discovered following a new examination of the graves.

Israeli officials have explained that some victims of the Hamas massacres had their bodies burned or otherwise mutilated beyond recognition, making identification difficult. In December, authorities found that the remains of another victim, Shani Gabay, had been mistakenly buried with those of another woman.

News of the deaths brought to 132 the number of hostages listed by Israel as held in Gaza. Those include 128 of the 252 seized on October 7 as well as four Israelis — two soldiers and two civilians — held by Hamas since 2014. Israeli officials have declared 37 of the hostages dead in absentia.

Expert Analysis

“Even as its fights for its survival, and for the safe return of all surviving hostages, Israel has not given up on those who died at the hands of the Hamas monsters. It deserves full credit for bringing the families of the missing a degree of closure and for giving a public account of these awful but necessary findings.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“That, almost seven months after the October 7 atrocities, Israel is still making new forensic determinations about the victims speaks volumes about the physical ravages inflicted upon them. It is also a cautionary tale about the difficulty of keeping an account of casualties, even when the country is highly advanced and ethically accountable. That Hamas has been presuming to provide the world with daily updates on the number of alleged Palestinian casualties, sometimes to the single figure and all under war conditions, is preposterous. That so many foreign media and officials have taken these reports at face value is a travesty.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

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