A dual U.S. citizen who was among about 240 people captured during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel died in captivity in the Gaza Strip, a group representing hostage families said. The Forum for Hostages and Missing Families said that Gadi Hajji (73 years old) also holds Israeli citizenship.
The forum said Haji Haji’s wife, Judy – who also holds American citizenship – remains a hostage. Gadi Hajji was the first American hostage to die.
The forum said in a statement: “Ghadi was a man full of humor and knew how to make those around him laugh. A musician at heart, a talented flutist, he played in the IDF Orchestra and was involved in music all his life.” Adding that on the morning of October 7, Gadi Haggi and Judy went “for their usual morning walk through the fields and vineyards” on Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel when they were kidnapped by Hamas.
She added: “Judy was able to notify her friends that they had been shot and that Jade had been seriously injured, and this was her last contact with them.”
The official Israeli tally shows that 129 people are still detained in Gaza after the rest were returned to their homeland in the November truce or recovered during a military attack. Of those still in Gaza, 22 people were killed. The forum said that between five and ten of the hostages held American citizenship, although the American embassy did not comment on that, according to Reuters news agency.
This comes at a time when Israel indicated that it was expanding its ground attack with a new attack on central Gaza. The Israeli army ordered residents of Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip, to move south immediately, signaling a new focus for the ground offensive.
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