Mar 12, 2024 - World

Israeli-American IDF soldier taken hostage in Oct. 7 attack confirmed dead

Photo of Itay Chen

Itay Chen. Photo courtesy of Chen's family.

Israeli Defense Forces announced on Tuesday that Itay Chen — a U.S. citizen who was taken hostage by Hamas — was killed on Oct. 7 and his body is held in Gaza.

The big picture: Chen was one of six Americans still considered held hostage in Gaza. He and more than 30 other hostages have been confirmed in recent months to be dead.

  • The Biden administration is pushing for a hostage deal that will lead to the release of roughly 40 hostages in return for six weeks of ceasefire and the release of 400 Palestinian prisoners.

Driving the news: Chen, was also an Israeli citizen, served as a soldier in the IDF and was stationed at the Nahal Oz base on the border with Gaza.

  • The IDF announced that a special committee investigation concluded in recent days that 19-year-old Chen was killed in action on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and attacked his base.
  • His body was then taken by Hamas militants to Gaza.

Behind the scenes: Chen's family said in a statement they were notified by the IDF on Monday night that, based on intelligence materials, Chen was killed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

  • A source with direct knowledge of the investigation said Israeli and U.S. intelligence analysts found new videos shot by Hamas on Oct. 7 that led to the unequivocal conclusion that Chen was killed.

Zoom out: Chen's parents — Rubi and Hagit Chen — were leading the campaign for the release of American hostages held by Hamas.

  • Over the last few months, they met President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CIA director Bill Burns, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and hundreds of members of Congress.
  • They attended the State of the Union last week and were recognized by Biden along with other hostage families who were in the audience.

What they're saying: "Our hearts are broken. We loved him so much, and we would have done anything to bring him home alive," Chen's parents said in a statement.

  • The Chen family thanked "the Biden administration, members of the U.S. House and Senate from both parties and the American people for their support and prayers."
  • "Even more so today, we expect Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden to do everything in their power to bring Itay, as well as the other 133 hostages, back home," they said.
  • Biden said in a statement that he "was devastated to learn that American Itay Chen was killed by Hamas during its brutal terrorist assault on October 7".
  • "I reaffirm my pledge to all the families of those still held hostage: we are with you. We will never stop working to bring your loved ones home," he said.
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