IDF: Soldier held captive in Gaza was killed on October 7, body held by Hamas

Military chief rabbi declares death of Sgt. Oz Daniel based on findings and new intelligence information

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

Sgt. Oz Daniel, 19 was killed on October 7, 2023 and his body was taken to Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
Sgt. Oz Daniel, 19 was killed on October 7, 2023 and his body was taken to Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday the death of soldier Sgt. Oz Daniel, 19, who was killed and abducted by Hamas on October 7, as the war against the terror group raged for its 142nd day.

Daniel served in the 7th Armored Brigade’s 77th Battalion, and his body was taken from the Gaza border following a battle with terrorists during the Hamas onslaught.

Until now, he was listed as one of the 253 hostages abducted by the terror group on October 7. Recently, the army’s chief rabbi declared Daniel’s death based on findings and new intelligence information.

While Daniel’s body remains in Gaza, his family can sit shiva, the traditional Jewish week-long mourning period, according to Jewish law, religious authorities said. A funeral was slated to be held Monday at 2 p.m. at the military cemetery in his hometown of Kfar Saba.

It is believed that 130 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that.

Three hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 11 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

Palestinian terrorists take control of an Israeli tank after crossing the border fence with Israel from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The IDF has now confirmed the deaths of 31 of those still held by Hamas — including Daniel — citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and her fate is still unknown, though her family believes she was killed.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Earlier Sunday, the IDF announced the death of two soldiers killed during fighting in the southern Gaza Strip over the weekend, bringing the toll of slain troops in the ground offensive against Hamas to 240.

In all, 580 Israeli soldiers and reservists have been killed amid the war, more than half of them during the October 7 onslaught.

The war began on October 7 when thousands of Hamas terrorists attacked southern Israel under a barrage of rockets fired at population centers all over the country, brutally killing 1,200 people amid cases of torture and rape and seizing 253 hostages. Israel swiftly declared war on Hamas, vowing to topple the terror group’s regime in Gaza and free the hostages.

The Israel Defense Forces has since overrun most of the Palestinian enclave under an intense bombardment in a conflict that has killed over 29,000 people, according to Hamas-run Gaza health authorities. These numbers cannot be independently verified and are believed to include over 12,000 terror operatives who were killed in battle as well as Gazans who were killed by terror groups’ misfired rockets.

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