The body of Yehudit Weiss, one of about 240 people taken captive by Hamas during its October 7 attacks, has been recovered, Israel’s military has said.
Weiss, a 65-year-old mother of five, was found by Israeli soldiers in a “structure” adjacent to the al-Shifa Hospital, military officials said on Thursday.
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“Yehudit was murdered by the terrorists in the Gaza Strip, and we didn’t manage to reach her in time,” Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari told a televised briefing.
Weiss was taken from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7 when Hamas fighters stormed into southern Israel in the largest attack on the country in decades.
Weiss’ husband, Shmulik Weiss, was killed in their home during the attack, according to Israeli officials.
Bring Them Home Now, a support group for the captives and their families, described Weiss as a “loving full-time grandmother” who had a love of travelling, baking and sports. The group said she had been recovering from breast cancer at the time of her capture.
Israeli officials said military equipment including Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs were found in the same location as Weiss’s body.
The announcement came as Israeli forces continued to undertake a major military operation at al-Shifa Hospital, the biggest medical facility in Gaza, amid growing concern for the welfare of patients and staff inside and duelling narratives about the complex’s role in the war.
Israel has claimed that the hospital has been used as a Hamas command centre, and on Thursday released a video showing images of a cache of weapons and a hole in the ground surrounded by rubble.
Hamas and hospital officials have denied Israeli claims that the complex has been used to plan and carry out military operations.
Hamas official Bassem Naim described the claims as a “farce” and said the group did not rule out the possibility that Israeli soldiers had planted the weapons themselves.
Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, on Thursday warned that “thousands of women, children, sick and wounded” were at risk of death at the hospital as Israeli forces continued to occupy the complex.