A 70-year-old woman with U.S. citizenship who was thought to have been taken to Gaza as a hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7 was actually killed during the initial attack, according to a statement released Thursday by the kibbutz she was taken from.
Judith Weinstein Haggai, who was an Israeli, American and Canadian national, came under fire in the attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz along with her husband, Gadi Haggai, 72, a dual U.S.-Israeli national. Both were believed to have been taken hostage, butlast week Israeli officials said they had confirmedGadi Haggai’s death.
According to a spokesperson for Kibbutz Nir Oz, where the couple lived, Judy Weinstein Haggai was also “fatally wounded” by Hamas gunmen in the Oct. 7 attack.
Both bodies are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza, the spokesperson said.
The statement said Weinstein Haggai was a mother of four and grandmother of seven who taught English to children with special needs, and described her as a poet and entrepreneur who “pursued many initiatives to advance peace in the region.”
The couple’s daughter, Iris, told CBS News in late November that she had seen video evidence that her father was killed, and said at that time that she had had no updates about her mother.
“The hostages that were released didn’t see her. They didn’t hear about her,” she told CBS News, as dozens of hostages were released as part of atemporary cease-fire. “I don’t have any proof of life for my mom. Nothing.”
Israel has said about 250 people weretaken hostageby Hamas and other militants who rampaged through communities in southern Israel, near the Gaza border, on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas and responded with a major military assault on Gaza, which remains ongoing and has killed at least 21,000 people in the territory, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
A temporary cease-fire in November led to therelease of 105 hostages— Israelis as well as some foreigners — in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. According to Israeli authorities, about 129 people are still being held hostage in Gaza.