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Israel Announces Death Of Kidnapped US Citizen By Hamas

Israel Announces Death Of Kidnapped US Citizen By Hamas

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has announced the death of 19-year old Sgt. Itay Chen, a dual US-Israeli citizen who had been serving in the IDF.

Authorities have revealed for the first time that he was abducted and killed by Hamas on Oct. 7. His death had not been initially confirmed as Hamas had removed his body from the border outpost where he was killed.

“Chen served in the 7th Armored Brigade’s 75th Battalion, and his body was taken from the Gaza border, following a battle with terrorists during the Hamas onslaught,” writes Israel National News.

The publication additionally noted that “The body of Chen, a US citizen, was stolen from the Nahal Oz base in the Gaza envelope where he served.”

New undisclosed intelligence information reportedly came to light confirming his death, though his body still hasn’t been handed over by Hamas or retrieved from the Gaza Strip.

A statement has been issued by President Biden which reads in part, “Today, as we join Itay’s parents, brothers, and family in grieving this tragic loss, we keep this reminder close to our hearts. And I reaffirm my pledge to all the families of those still held hostage: we are with you. We will never stop working to bring your loved ones home.”

A statement by the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said the following:

“We share in the profound grief of the Chen family. Itay Chen (19) was always surrounded by friends. A beloved individual who drew others to him with his warm presence. Itay loved the land, going on hikes, and was a senior instructor in youth movements – a salt of the earth person,” a statement in his memory read. 

Chen had reportedly contacted his family on the morning of the massacre and said a war had broken out, but contact was then lost. His family was told by the military that he was abducted with other troops, and his fate remained unknown. His family was among those who have met with President Biden early in the conflict.

An estimated 134 Israeli and foreign hostages remain in Gaza; however, it’s unknown how many among these are still alive as the grinding war continues, and as the IDF stands ready for a ground offensive against the southern city of Rafah. There have been reports that Israeli intelligence believes at least 30 of these are already deceased.

Among these have been six Americans still held captive. With the confirmation of Chen’s death, this number is now tragically reduced to 5 US citizens believed to still possibly be alive and in captivity.

Family members of kidnapped victims continue to press the Netanyahu government to strike a deal with Hamas in order to get the rest of the hostages returned home, as they await in agony. 

Tue, 03/12/2024 – 10:40

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