Ariel Cunio is one of four Cunio brothers who was born and raised at Kibbutz Nir Oz. He lives there with his girlfriend, Arbel Yehud, another Nir Oz native and both were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7.
The kibbutz is where his grandmother, parents, three siblings and their families all live.
Cunio’s brother David, his wife Sharon and their three-year-old twins, along with Sharon’s sister Danielle and her five-year-old, were also kidnapped.
Cunio, his girlfriend and her brother, Dolev, a married father of four, were all taken captive together.
There’s little that’s known of what happened there that morning, except for the message that Ariel sent to his brother, Eitan, which read: “We are in a horror film.”
Ariel and Arbel had just returned to Nir Oz from an extended trip to South America and Central America and had adopted a puppy weeks earlier.