Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the hardest hit communities during the shock October 7 attacks in southern Israel, announced Friday that one of its residents who was taken hostage in Gaza died while in captivity.
In a statement, the kibbutz said Ofra Keidar, 70, had died without detailing when or how.
“Her body is in the hands of Hamas. We demand her return along with the other hostages,” the statement added.
Keidar went for a walk early in the morning of October 7, and hadn’t been heard from since.
Her husband, Sami Keidar, was killed in the family’s safe room, and their daughter, Yael Keidar, who has a mild intellectual disability, hid in the safe room and emerged hours later, waiting until it was quiet outside.
Yael’s brother, Oran Keidar, and his family also live in Be’eri and survived.
The announcement came as the Israel Defense Forces also confirmed the deaths of four residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz who were abducted by terrorists and died in captivity.
The kibbutz named them as Aryeh Zalmanovich, 85, the oldest of the 240 people kidnapped by Hamas, Maya Goren, 56, a legendary kindergarten teacher in the community, and Ronen Engel, 54, whose wife and two daughters were returned to Israel earlier this week after being abducted alongside him.
The IDF confirmed their deaths, along with that of fellow Nir Oz resident Eliyahu Margalit, 75, whose daughter Nili Margalit, 41, was released from Hamas captivity on Thursday.
The confirmations came after seven days of a temporary truce with Hamas in Gaza that saw the release of 105 civilians taken on October 7 including 81 Israelis, mainly women and children, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino. They were among the 240 hostages, including 40 children, taken by Hamas-led terrorists who also massacred some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, across southern Israel.
In Be’eri alone, terrorists killed over 100 people and took many hostages.
Some 130 abductees remain in Gaza, including at least 17 women and two children, Israel believes.
The truce, which brought the first pause in almost eight weeks of war sparked by the shock assault, broke down Friday after Hamas fired rockets toward Israel and did not deliver on additional hostage releases per the Qatar-brokered deal to release all women and children first.
“We are continuing to invest many intelligence and operational efforts, to bring information on the conditions of the hostages,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during a press conference Friday following the confirmation of the Nir Oz residents’ deaths.
Hagari added the four deaths were declared “based on findings that were collected, and intelligence.”
During the truce, 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity in Gaza, including 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and 1 Filipino, in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners, all of them women or minors. Israel also allowed an influx of humanitarian aid into the Strip.
Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children — a government spokesperson said. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.
Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.