A 10-month-old baby who was believed to be the youngest hostage kidnapped on Oct. 7 when Hamas struck in southern Israel has reportedly been killed in an Israeli bombing alongside his brother and mother, according to Hamas.
Kfir Bibas, his 4-year-old brother Ariel, his mother Shiri and his father Yarden were taken from the Nir Oz kibbutz and were believed to have been held hostage by the group, The Associated Press reported.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said on Tuesday that the Israeli government had been told that the family was no longer in the control of Hamas and had been handed over to a different terror group, which was holding them in Khan Younis.
On Wednesday, Hamas said the children and their mother had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, without providing evidence, according to The Telegraph.
There has not been any independent confirmation of Hamas’ claim.
The Israel Defense Forces said it was investigating the claims and was in touch with the family’s surviving relatives.
The news came as the Israel Defense Forces said 10 Israeli hostages and four Thai nationals had been released by Hamas on Wednesday night. Two dual Israeli-Russian nationals were freed earlier on Wednesday.
As family members waited to see the names of the Bibas family on the list of hostages to be freed, they were disappointed and left wondering about the four.
The news that Hamas said they had been killed struck a hard blow.
Jimmy Miller, a cousin of Shiri Bibas, said, “Hamas abducted them alive. Hamas is solely responsible for their well-being. Hamas must return them to us alive,” The Times of Israel reported.
“We’re not interested in whether they transferred them to somebody else or to some other group.”
Rallies have been held in Israel and around the world seeking the return of the red-headed infant and his family. The sister of Yarden Bibas, Ofri Bibas Levy, told NBC News that waiting to see their names on a list of hostages to be released and then being disappointed when they were not released was difficult.
“It’s like a shot in the chest every time that their names are not in the list,” Levy said at an event held Tuesday in Israel.