An American-Israeli citizen kidnapped by Hamas has died in Gaza

An American citizen, who was held hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attacks on Israel, has died in captivity in Gaza, according to a group representing the families of the hostages.

Gadi Haggi, 73, a dual US and Israeli citizen, was on a walk with his wife, Judith Weinstein Haggi, 70, at Kibbutz Nir Oz where they were living that morning when Hamas gunmen stormed the border into Israel, the Forum for Families of Missing Persons said. .

The couple were reportedly shot, seriously wounding Gadi Hajji.

Neither has been seen or heard from since.

The Israeli military informed Hajji’s family members 10 days after the surprise attacks that the couple were among hundreds of people taken hostage by Hamas militants in Gaza, CTV News reported.

Then, on Friday, the Forum for Families of Missing Persons confirmed the death of Gadi Hajji.

The statement added that his body is still being held in Gaza.

“Gadi was a man full of humor and knew how to make those around him laugh. A musician at heart, a talented flutist, he played in the Israeli Army Orchestra and has been involved in music all his life,” the forum said in the statement.

Gadi Haggai, a 73-year-old dual American-Israeli citizen, and his wife Judith Weinstein Haggai, 70, were kidnapped on October 7.

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“We share the deep sadness of Hajji’s family.”

Details of how and when the 73-year-old died remain unclear, but it is believed to be the first confirmed death of an American hostage held by Hamas.

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Meanwhile, Ms. Hajji remains detained in Gaza, according to the forum.

The couple’s nephew previously spoke of the family’s grief at not knowing whether they were alive or dead.

Arad Hajji, who resides in the United Kingdom, said Watchman in October regarding the last contact they had with loved ones.

He said the Hajji family went for a walk around 6:30 a.m. on October 7.

They then sent a final text message to their children at around 6.50am, saying they were being attacked “with rocket fire and should try to hide somewhere in the fields”.

After about 15 minutes, Ms. Haggai was able to send a message to kibbutz security that Hamas gunmen on a motorcycle had opened fire on them.

While she was injured, her husband was “severely struck.”

“I tried to call for help. But the kibbutz was already under heavy fire, and there was only one bulletproof ambulance, and they couldn’t move it because the terrorists had set it on fire.”

Gadi Hajji was a retired chef and musician, while Ms Hajji previously worked as an English teacher and puppeteer. They share four adult children.

About 240 people are believed to have been captured when Hamas launched surprise attacks on October 7, killing about 1,200 people.

In the nearly 11 weeks since then, 110 hostages have been released.

On October 20, an American mother and daughter, Judith and Natalie Ranan, were the first to be released.

Destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip

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Days later, two elderly Israeli women, Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were released.

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Then, last month, a major movement began to release hostages when the Israeli government reached a historic agreement with Hamas.

As part of the week-long truce – brokered by the US, Qatar and Egypt – the hostages were released in exchange for a temporary halt to Israel’s offensive on Gaza to allow vital humanitarian aid trucks into the war-torn region.

Most of the hostages released were women and children, many of them from the same kibbutz where the Haggais lived.

Four-year-old American-Israeli girl Abigail Idan was among the last hostages to be released.

While the little girl was reunited with her family members, she was tragically left an orphan after her parents Roy Idan, 43, and Smadar Idan, 40, were among those slaughtered by Hamas.

Before some hostages were released, President Joe Biden was facing increasing pressure to repatriate American citizens.

At the same time, he is also facing increasing pressure from progressive Democrats over US support for Israel as President Benjamin Netanyahu’s army continues to rain down on Gaza.

More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli retaliatory raids on Gaza since the beginning of the war – equivalent to about 1 percent of the Strip’s pre-war population – according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

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