Remains of 12-year-old Oct. 7 victim Liel Hetzroni identified

Family and friends already held burial ceremony last week for girl whose twin brother, aunt and grandfather were also murdered in Hamas attack

Liel (left), Avia (back) and Yanai Hetzroni, from Kibbutz Be'eri. They were killed along with their aunt Ayala Hetzroni in the Hamas assault on Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Liel (left), Avia (back) and Yanai Hetzroni, from Kibbutz Be'eri. They were killed along with their aunt Ayala Hetzroni in the Hamas assault on Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

The remains of 12-year-old Liel Hetzroni, who was murdered in the October 7 Hamas assault on her home in Kibbutz Be’eri, have been formally identified, Hebrew media reported Sunday.

A ceremony was held last week to bid goodbye to the child and her aunt Ayala even though there was no official identification for Liel at the time.

In place of the 12-year-old’s body, personal items that belonged to her were buried in a cemetery set up for Be’eri victims in Revivim.

However, Ynet reported that forensic archaeologists have since managed to positively identify Liel’s remains and informed the family on Saturday.

Liel and her aunt Ayala were killed along with Liel’s twin brother, Yanai, and their grandfather, Avia Hetzroni. Yanai and Avia Hetzroni were buried on October 23 in Revivim.

Omri Shifroni, a relative of the family, told Ynet at the time of the ceremony that no one came out alive from the Hetzroni home on October 7.

“As a secular family, we know they were killed and it’s less important to us to have an official stamp,” Shifroni said, explaining why they had gone ahead with a funeral in the absence of a body. “We’re bidding Liel goodbye because the situation is impossible.”

Family and friends attend the funeral of Ayala Hetzroni and 12-year-old Liel Hetzroni who were murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7, at a cemetery in Kibbutz Revivim, southern Israel, November 15, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The twins’ mother, Shira Hetzroni, suffered medical complications during their birth and was left with physical disabilities. Their grandfather Avia and aunt Ayala stepped in and raised the children.

On the day of the attack, terrorists killed Avia while taking Liel, Yanai and Ayala to another building on Kibbutz Be’eri, where they had gathered a number of the community residents, Ynet reported. There the gunmen massacred all of them in cold blood, then torched the building.

Over 120 Be’eri residents are believed to have been killed by the terrorists after they overran the community.

Similar atrocities were carried out in other communities during the massive assault. A team of volunteer archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have been working with forensic teams to identify the remains of all the victims of the Hamas attack.

A Hamas-led group of some 3,000 terrorists burst through the border from the Gaza Strip and then rampaged murderously through southern areas. They killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, most of them in their homes and at an outdoor music festival. Entire families were slaughtered as they huddled together. Some victims were raped, beaten, or mutilated. The attackers also abducted at least 240 people of all ages — including the elderly and babies — and dragged them to Gaza.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and remove it from power in Gaza. It has launched an air, sea, and land campaign that it says is targeting terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian enclave. The Hamas-controlled health ministry reports that over 12,000 people have been killed. The numbers are not verified and Hamas does not distinguish between civilian and combat casualties. Israel says some Palestinians were killed by hundreds of misfired rockets aimed by terror groups at Israel that fell short in Gaza.

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