Gad Haggai, US-Israeli man believed kidnapped by Hamas, declared dead

An Israeli-American man thought to have been taken hostage in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack has been declared dead.

The death of Gad Haggai, 73, was announced Friday by Kibbutz Nir Oz, which said it had been determined that Haggai was killed in the kibbutz on Oct. 7 and his body was taken to Gaza.

Haggai had been thought to be among the more than 100 Israeli hostages still alive in Gaza. The announcement did not say how his death had been determined.

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It described Haggai as a "gifted wind instrument player … connected to the earth, a chef and a follower of a healthy vegan diet and sports." It said his wife, Judy Weinstein, was wounded and remains in captivity in Gaza.

Nir Oz was among the hardest hit communities on Oct. 7, with roughly a quarter of its residents taken hostage or killed.

A supporter of Israel holds a picture of kidnapped Israeli hostages Gad Haggai and Judith Lynne Weinstein during the "Flood Wall Street for Gaza" rally outside the New York Stock Exchange on October 26, 2023 in New York. (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP

Israel's war to destroy Hamas has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians, as Israel expanded its offensive and ordered tens of thousands more people to leave their homes.

The deaths in Gaza amount to nearly 1% of the territory’s prewar population — the latest indication of the 11-week-old conflict's staggering human toll.

Israel’s aerial and ground offensive has been one of the most devastating military campaigns in modern history, displacing nearly 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people and leveling wide swaths of the tiny coastal enclave. More than half a million people in Gaza — a quarter of the population — are starving, according to a report Thursday from the United Nations and other agencies.

MORE: Israeli airstrike killed a USAID contractor in Gaza, colleagues say

Israel declared war after Hamas militants stormed across the border on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking some 240 hostages. Israel has vowed to keep up the fight until Hamas is destroyed and removed from power in Gaza and all the hostages are freed.

After many delays, the U.N. Security Council adopted a watered-down resolution Friday calling for immediately speeding up aid deliveries to desperate civilians in Gaza.

The United States won the removal of a tougher call for an "urgent suspension of hostilities" between Israel and Hamas. It abstained in the vote, as did Russia, which wanted the stronger language. The resolution was the first on the war to make it through the council after the U.S. vetoed two earlier ones calling for humanitarian pauses and a full cease-fire.

Martin Griffiths, the U.N. humanitarian affairs chief, lamented the world’s inaction.

"That such a brutal conflict has been allowed to continue and for this long — despite the widespread condemnation, the physical and mental toll and the massive destruction — is an indelible stain on our collective conscience," he wrote on the social media platform X.