The Israeli army said Wednesday it was “verifying” the announcement by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas of the death of a ten-month-old baby, the youngest of the hostages kidnapped on October 7, his mother and his 4-year-old brother. years.
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The army is “verifying the veracity of the information” and its representatives have “spoken with the Bibas family,” it said in a statement.
“The responsibility for the safety of all hostages in the Gaza Strip lies with Hamas, which endangers the lives of the hostages, including nine children. Hamas must return them immediately,” the army added.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced Wednesday in a press release the death of Shiri, Ariel and Kfir Bibas, “killed in a bombardment of the Gaza Strip” by Israeli forces.
The death of a hostage, Hanna Katzir, 76, had previously been announced by Islamic Jihad, an Islamist movement allied with Hamas which holds certain hostages in Gaza, but she was finally released on November 24, the first day of the truce in fighting accompanied by an agreement to exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons.
The images of the kidnapping, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, of the Bibas family – the father, the mother and the two children – have become in Israel one of the symbols of the violence of October 7.
Mother Shiri, her face contorted with anguish, is seen pressing against her, wrapped in a blanket, her two red-haired children, terribly silent, Kfir, 9 months old at the time, and Ariel, 4 years old.
Almost at the same time, the father, Yarden, with his head bleeding, was taken by Hamas gunmen towards the Gaza Strip.
Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari recently indicated that the two children and their parents were being held by a Palestinian group other than Hamas.
“Hamas took them and Hamas is required to bring them back now, they are responsible for their health and their freedom is directly in the hands of Hamas,” Ofri Bibas-Levy, Yarden’s sister, told AFP on Tuesday. .
Shiri’s sister, Dana Siton, told AFP that “each day that passes puts them in danger.”
Kibbutz Nir Oz had around 400 inhabitants: 35 were murdered and 80 kidnapped on October 7, including 31 since released.