Kibbutz Nir Oz announces Yair Yaakov, 59, was killed Oct. 7; body held in Gaza

Yair Yaakov was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Yair Yaakov was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

Kibbutz Nir Oz announces the death of resident Yair (Yaya) Yaakov, 59, whose body is held by Hamas in Gaza.

Yaakov was taken from his home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. Yair’s family was told that he was injured in the Hamas attack in his house on October 7 and that the terrorists used brutal force against him. It is now apparent that he died of injuries sustained during the attack.

The kibbutz says Yaakov was killed on October 7 and his body is being held in Gaza.

His partner Meirav Tal, 54, was also taken, but was released in late November as part of a temporary truce deal brokered by Qatar and the United States.

Yaakov’s sons, Or and Yagil, 16 and 12, were also taken captive from their mother’s nearby Nir Oz home and were freed on November 27 as part of the deal.

The kibbutz statement describes Yaakov as “a humble, simple man who loved family, land and music.”

“Yair was a family man with a huge heart, always willing to help everyone. He was energetic and loved enjoying life,” a statement by the hostages forum says.

Tal spoke to Channel 12 following her return and recalled the attack on their home. The two were in their safe room when they heard “a crazy explosion, my ear drum burst,” she said.

“I couldn’t see anything but smoke. We were both laying on the floor… I felt like my body was on fire,” she said.

Tal said they held hands, and she told Yaakov to “play dead,” adding “I love you.”

She said the terrorists broke into the safe room and were immediately onto the ruse, grabbing both of them and setting them on their feet.

Tal said they grabbed her and she started begging them, telling them she was a mother, in Arabic. “They told me ‘don’t be afraid.'”

Yaakov, she said, showed them his injury and yelled toward her that he was “about to die.”

Yaakov and Tal were then separated.

A video of their capture was taken by terrorists and aired on Channel 12. It shows a smoke-filled room and Tal and Yaakov, dazed, as terrorists pull at them and drag them. In one part of the clip, Yaakov is seen sitting on the floor, appearing to say he’s unable to get up to an armed terrorist beside him.

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