May 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Recovers Bodies of Three Kidnapped Hostages

May 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Recovers Bodies of Three Kidnapped Hostages

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on May 17 that they recovered the bodies of three hostages taken by Hamas during its October 7 massacre. In a press statement, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the IDF and Shin Bet recovered the bodies of Yitzhak Gelernter, Shani Louk, and Amit Buskila. Hamas murdered the trio while they were trying to escape the Nova music festival. The terrorist group then took their bodies into Gaza, Hagari said. Intelligence gleaned from Israel’s interrogations of terrorists captured in Gaza — as well as information provided by the Intelligence Directorate’s Headquarters for the Hostages and Missing Persons — led to the recovery of the bodies.

Israel also confirmed on May 16 that two Thai nationals among the 252 hostages seized by Hamas during its October 7 assault on Israel died in captivity. The Thai foreign ministry also confirmed the announcement, identifying the dead as Sonthaya Oakkharasri and Sudthisak Rinthalak. The two men had worked as agricultural laborers near Kibbutz Beeri, which came under an especially intensive Palestinian rampage during the October 7 atrocities. According to the IDF, Oakkharasri and Rinthalak were murdered outright and their bodies carted off to Gaza by the terrorists. The bodies remain in captivity.

Expert Analysis

“The Hamas savages spared no one — Israelis, foreigners, Jews, and non-Jews alike. While the Israelis have vowed to recover every single person who disappeared into the Gaza dungeons on that dark October morning, they have, as a humanitarian stopgap, also been working to determine which of them did not survive. That gives the anguished families at least a measure of relief — including, now, the relatives of these three Israeli victims as well as the two Thai citizens who came to Israel to earn a living.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“A tragedy has befallen the families of three Israelis and two Thais taken hostage in the Gaza Strip. If there is one positive aspect of this tragic situation, it is that Israel is methodically removing Hamas’s ability to use hostages as leverage to secure the release of Palestinian terrorists and end the conflict on terms that would ensure the group stays in power.”Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Terrorists Celebrate Killing of Hostages

As the massacre was still ongoing, video and images of the 22-year-old Louk’s twisted and mutilated body being abducted by terrorists quickly spread around the world. The images showed her body in the bed of a pickup truck, with terrorists proudly sitting on top of her body displaying their weapons. Controversially, one of the photos — taken by a freelance photographer working for the Associated Press — won first prize in the Team Picture Story of the Year at the Pictures of the Year International competition. Israel officially declared Louk dead on October 30 when a piece of her skull was recovered by Israeli forces and identified. “She was light in her life and in her death,” Nissim Louk, her father, told Israel’s Channel 12. “This light will accompany the people of Israel.”

Two More October 7 Victims Declared Dead,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Rescues Two Hostages From Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Recovers Murdered Hostage’s Body,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Says It Cannot Locate Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War