Israeli military officials announced on Tuesday that they found the remains of two hostages captured in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and have repatriated the bodies.
The remains of the hostages, Eden Zakaria, 27, and Master Sgt. Ziv Dado, 36, were discovered during a recent operation in the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said in a statement. Ms. Zakaria was taken hostage from the Tribe of Nova music festival in Re’im, in southern Israel, while Sergeant Dado was serving as a logistics supervisor in the army’s Golani Brigade at the time of the attack and had been presumed dead, Israeli officials said.
The operation to locate their bodies resulted in at least two deaths, officials said, including those of Master Sgt. Eyal Meir Berkowitz and Gen. Gal Meir Eisenkot, the son of the war cabinet minister Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. They died on Dec. 7.
“Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home,” the Israeli military said. “We are working together with security agencies, and with all intelligence and operational means in order to return all of the hostages home.”
Liat Bell Sommer, a spokeswoman for The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum, a group formed by the families of abductees after the Oct. 7 attack, said in a statement that it shared the “profound grief” of those hostage families just informed of the repatriation.
Ms. Zakaria “was filled with joy for life,” Ms. Sommer said, noting her devotion to her family and her dogs. Sergeant Dado was married and the father of a 5-month-old daughter, Ms. Sommer said, and he “loved helping others, especially underserved populations.”
Of the roughly 240 hostages kidnapped on Oct. 7, more than 100 have been released, after a series of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas that were brokered by Qatari, American and Egyptian officials. In November, the negotiations led to the release of some hostages in exchange for Palestinian women and teenage prisoners being held by Israel. They also led to a brief pause in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which has prompted a humanitarian crisis in the enclave that has displaced about 1.9 million Palestinians over two months.
Hostages who have been freed have described the conditions of their captivity to family members as horrific. Some were held in sweltering tunnels deep beneath the strip, squeezed into tight quarters or confined in isolation. All bore physical and psychological wounds. Hamas and Israel last week offered conflicting reports of hostage rescue efforts by the Israeli military.
President Biden is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with families of some of the remaining American hostages. Families of hostages have pressed the United States to push for more pauses in fighting and continued negotiations.