The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday they are investigating Hamas’ claim that three Israeli hostages—Shiri Bibas and her two red-headed young sons, whose capture on Oct. 7 was recorded on video and seen around the world—were killed by an Israeli airstrike.
IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee tweeted the military “is examining the reliability” of the claim that the Bibas family members are dead.
The IDF said representatives have talked to the Bibas family about the claim and are accompanying family members, but did not confirm the claims.
The IDF announced earlier in the week that it believed the Bibas family—which became some of the highest-profile hostages as Kfir is the youngest known hostage—was captured by Hamas on Oct. 7 but had been given to a different group, decreasing the likelihood they would be released in the current truce.
Last week, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—a separate militant group that operates in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip—said hostage Hannah Katzi had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, but Katzi was later released by Hamas in the first group of returned hostages under the current truce. On Telegram, the group blamed Israel for Katzi’s death, saying it had wanted to release her, “but the enemy’s procrastination led to the loss of her life,” according to NBC News.
Hamas captured an estimated 240 hostages in its Oct. 7 offensive in Israel, but has released 81—all women and children—since a temporary truce began Friday. Under the agreement, Israel agreed to a pause in fighting and has been releasing Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages. Since the initial Hamas attack on Oct. 7, the Hamas-run health ministry has estimated 14,800 people have died in Gaza and Israeli officials have said about 1,200 Israelis have died, mostly in the first attack.
What To Watch For
The sixth release of hostages. Israel reportedly has the list of hostages Hamas is planning to free on the final day of the cease-fire—unless it is extended further.