The Israeli army on Friday confirmed the deaths of five hostages held in Gaza, saying their families had been informed, and the body of one of them returned to Israel.
“In recent days, the IDF and Israel police notified the families of the hostages Eliyahu Margalit, Maya Goren, Ronen Engel and Arye Zalmanovitz about their deaths,” army spokesman Daniel Hagari said.
He also said troops had brought back the body of a fifth person that he identified as Ofir Tsarfati.
Hagari said Gaza militants were still holding “136 hostages, among them 17 women and children.”
In a separate statement, the army said Tsarfati’s body had been “located in recent days” in Gaza by troops and members of the Shin Bet internal security service and brought to Israel for burial.
It said the family was informed about his death on Wednesday.
Tsarfati was kidnapped from a rave party near the Gaza Strip on October 7 when Hamas militants stormed across the border, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping around 240 others in the worst attacks in Israel’s 75-year history.
Israel has hit back with a massive military campaign that Gaza’s Hamas-run government says has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians.