Forum for hostages and missing persons
The body of Yehudit Weiss has been returned to Israel, the IDF said in a statement.
A 65-year-old Israeli woman kidnapped by Hamas militants on October 7 has been found dead near Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, the Israeli military said Thursday.
The body of Yehudit Weiss, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri, was found by Israeli soldiers in Gaza City and brought back to Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.
The statement did not detail how or when she had been killed, but said military, medical and rabbinate personnel had identified the body and informed her family.
IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised news briefing that Hamas had killed Weiss. He did not provide further information on the exact cause of her death.
“Unfortunately, Yehudit was murdered by the terrorists in the Gaza Strip and we did not reach her in time,” he said.
“The IDF sends its heartfelt condolences to the family,” the earlier IDF statement read. “The national task in our eyes is to locate the missing and bring the abducted people home.”
Weiss was among more than 200 people taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 terror attack, when its fighters poured into southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people. Weiss’ husband, Shmuel, was among those killed.
The IDF said her body had been recovered from what it called a “structure” close to Al-Shifa hospital, where on Wednesday the IDF launched what it called a “precise and targeted” operation against Hamas, which it says has used the hospital for military purposes.
Hamas and hospital officials have consistently denied Israel’s claims that Hamas has built a command center under the hospital.
The IDF also claimed in its statement that “in the structure Yehudit was in, military equipment was also found, including Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs.”
The Israeli military also said Thursday it had found an “operational tunnel shaft” inside the Shifa hospital complex and released a statement that included a photo and video purporting to show it.
CNN is unable to confirm the claim.
Israel is under considerable international pressure to prove its claims of Hamas infiltration of the hospital, to justify some of its military decisions that could otherwise constitute a possible serious violation of international humanitarian law.
Kibbutz Be’eri is only a few kilometers from the Gaza Strip, and its liberal community has been a frequent target of Hamas rockets fired from the enclave – usually intercepted by Israeli defenses.
But the kibbutz became the site of a massacre on October 7, when Hamas militants broke in and murdered more than 120 of its residents, including children, and kidnapped others.
The Hostages and Missing Person’s Families Forum, a group established by the families of those abducted by Hamas, said Weiss was a 65-year-old grandmother.
This is a developing story and will be updated.