The Islamists attributed their deaths to “a previous Israeli shelling.”
The Israel Defense Forces is investigating claims that three members of the Bibas family in Gaza, including 10-month-old Kfir, died in Hamas captivity, the military said on Wednesday.
The “military” wing of Hamas announced the deaths Kfir, his brother Ariel, 4, and his mother, Shiri, 32, the Hamas- and Palestinian Islamic Jihad-affiliated Quds News Network reported earlier on Wednesday.
Without presenting evidence, the Al-Qassam Brigades attributed their deaths to “a previous Israeli shelling on the Gaza Strip.”
The statement did not mention the family’s father, Yarden Bibas, 34, also kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz during the Oct. 7 massacre.
The IDF announced that it was “assessing the accuracy of the information.”
“Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages in the Gaza Strip. Hamas must be held accountable. Hamas’s actions continue to endanger the hostages, which include nine children,” read the statement.
IDF representatives spoke with the Bibas family following Hamas’s announcement “and are with them at this difficult time,” the military said.
BREAKING | The #Palestinian resistance faction, Al Qassam Brigades: We announce the killing of 3 #Israeli captives due to a previous #Israeli shelling on the #Gaza Strip. They are Shiri Silverman Beba, Kfir Bebas, Ariel Bebas. pic.twitter.com/YYwOpdM1V7
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) November 29, 2023
The IDF said on Monday that the Bibas family had been transferred by Hamas to another terrorist organization and that they were being held in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis.
Kfir’s aunt on Tuesday pleaded for their release.
“We’re talking to you today because tomorrow is the last day of the current ceasefire,” Ofri Bibas-Levy told reporters. “At the moment they are the youngest hostages still remaining in Hamas captivity.”
“We don’t know where they’ve been held. From what we know, they are kept underground,” said Bibas-Levy. “We’re really worried about the 10-month-old baby with formula [normally]as his main nourishment.”
Bibas-Levy continued: “We call upon the Israeli government and Qatar and Egypt, everybody who is involved in these negotiations and this deal, to do whatever they can to include our family in this deal and to release them as soon as possible.”