A US dual national who was among some 240 people seized during the Oct 7 attack by Hamas in Israel has died in captivity in the Gaza Strip, a group representing hostages’ families said as per news agency Reuters. Gadi Haggai, 73, also held Israeli citizenship, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said.
Gadi Haggai’s wife Judi- who also has American citizenship- still remains a hostage, the forum said. Gadi Haggai is the first American hostage to have died.
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“Gadi was a man full of humor who knew how to make those around him laugh. A musician at heart, a gifted flutist, he played in the IDF Orchestra and was involved with music his whole life,” the forum said in a statement, adding that on the morning of October 7, Gadi Haggai and Judi went “for their regular morning walk in the fields and vineyards” of Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel when they were kidnapped by Hamas.Judi managed to notify friends that they had been shot and that Gadi was critically injured — it was the last contact with them,” it said.
Official Israel tally shows that129 people remain held in Gaza after the rest were repatriated in a November truce or recovered during a military offensive. Of those still in Gaza, 22 are dead. The forum said that between five and 10 of the hostages hold US citizenship although the US Embassy has not commented on the same, news agency Reuters reported.
This comes as Israel signalled that it was widening the ground offensive with a new push into central Gaza. Israel’s military ordered residents of Al-Bureij, in central Gaza, to move south immediately, indicating a new focus of the ground assault.