Remains of Elyakim Libman, presumed a hostage since Oct. 7, found in Israel

Libman, a security guard at music festival, was erroneously buried with someone else as a result of difficulties identifying mangled bodies; discovery lowers hostage figure to 252

Elyakim Libman, security guard at the Supernova desert rave who was thought to be taken captive on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)
Elyakim Libman, security guard at the Supernova desert rave who was thought to be taken captive on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

An Israeli who was thought to have been abducted by Hamas during the October 7 attacks, was declared dead Friday after his body was found in Israel.

The IDF said military representatives, along with members of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Health Ministry, notified Elyakim Libman’s family of the findings.

The 23-year-old was initially thought to have been taken hostage, as his body was not found. According to Hebrew-language media reports, his remains had been accidentally buried alongside another victim from the Supernova festival.

Some victims of the Hamas massacres had their bodies burned or otherwise mutilated beyond recognition, making identification difficult. In December, authorities found that the remains of another victim, Shani Gabay, had been mistakenly buried with those of another woman.

The declaration of Libman’s death was based on “findings that were identified following a complex investigation” carried out by the IDF, police, Institute of Forensic Medicine and Health Ministry, the military said Friday.

Libman was working as a security guard at the desert rave on October 7, when Hamas terrorists launched an assault at the party, murdering hundreds of partygoers and kidnapping others.

Elyakim’s father is Eliyahu Libman, council chairman of the town of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank.

According to the family, Libman is known to have stayed behind for hours treating other wounded people until he himself was killed. Another security guard who survived recounted to them that Libman and his friend Eitan Mor stopped to help an injured woman. The other guard, Moshe, begged them to save themselves, but they didn’t want to leave her. That was the last Moshe saw of Elyakim and Eitan.

Eitan Mor is still believed to be held hostage in Gaza.

The latest development lowers the number of hostages taken on October 7 from the previous figure of 253 to 252.

Libman’s death was the second October 7 fatality announced in as many days, with Kibbutz Be’eri saying Thursday that it was now confirmed that resident Dror Or had been murdered during the Hamas-led terror onslaught.

Or’s body is being held in Gaza.

Dror Or, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 at his home in Kibbutz Be’eri, and his body abducted to Gaza, the kibbutz announced on May 2, 2024 (Courtesy)

Such announcements typically come after the IDF obtains additional forensics leading to the determination of a hostage’s death.

Or, 49, was previously believed to have been taken hostage, along with two of his children, Noam, 17 and Alma, 13, by Hamas terrorists who attacked their home in Be’eri. The family was forced out of their safe room as terrorists set the house on fire. A neighbor saw the terrorists grabbing and taking members of the family hostage.

Days later, the body of Yonat Or, Dror’s wife and mother of their three children, was found.

Seventeen-year-old Noam and 13-year-old Alma Or were released on November 25 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel.

Noam, left, and Alma Or, two siblings taken captive from their home in Kibbutz Be’eri by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. They were released on November 26, 2023 (Courtesy)

Noam and Alma’s older brother, Yahli, and their dog, Nella, survived. Yahli Or is volunteering in a year of national service in the north, and wasn’t home on October 7.

Dror Or was a chef and cheesemaker in the Be’eri Dairy, an award-winning artisanal cheese-making operation, founded in 1991 at the kibbutz.

His wife Yonat Or, was also an entrepreneur who created Ayuna, her own carpentry and furniture line in Be’eri.

Yonat Or (Screenshot)

The announcements came as Israel waited for Hamas to formally respond to the latest offer for a hostage and truce deal, which an Israeli official told The Times of Israel that the country’s leadership assumes the terror group will reject.

Multiple reports have indicated that Israel’s offer would see at least 33 civilian and sick hostages released in the first phase, followed by later stages that would establish a sustainable calm and possible full withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops.

The first stage of the deal, to last 40 days, reportedly involves a gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from parts of the Strip to allow the movement of humanitarian aid and the return of civilians to their homes.

The deal would reportedly entail Israel releasing many hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners, including terror convicts.

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