ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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IDF says head of Israeli brigade on Gaza border was killed Oct 7, body held by Hamas

Col. Asaf Hamami, commander of Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, recognized as ‘a fallen soldier held by a terror group’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division's southern brigade who was killed on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division's southern brigade who was killed on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announced Saturday that a senior officer missing since October 7 was killed that day and his remains are being held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, was recognized as a “fallen soldier held by a terror group,” the IDF announced. Hamami was from Kiryat Ono.

He was killed fighting in the defense of Kibbutz Nirim.

In the wake of the Hamas onslaught on October 7, in which the terror group killed at least 1,200 people and took some 240 hostages, Hamami had been believed to have been kidnapped and was classified as such by the IDF.

No announcement regarding Hamami was made until Saturday, due to security concerns.

In recent days, the IDF has confirmed the deaths of several hostages held by Hamas, due to new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

Hamami was killed on October 7, although his death was only recently declared by the chief rabbi, based on findings obtained by the military in the Gaza Strip.

The findings allow Hamami to be buried according to halacha, or Jewish law, but his body remains in Gaza.

Hamami was the most senior officer to have been taken hostage by Hamas. Another three colonels were killed on October 7 but were not taken: Col. Jonathan Steinberg, 42, the commander of the Nahal Brigade; Col. Roi Levy, 44, the commander of the Multidomain Unit, also known as the “Ghost” Unit; and Col. (res.) Lion Bar, 53, a retired senior officer in the Judea and Samaria Division.

The death of Hamami brought the toll of fallen IDF soldiers since the outbreak of the war on October 7 to 396.

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