update deskIsrael at War

Kidnapped US-Israeli soldier declared dead

Hamas is holding the body of Sgt. Itay Chen in Gaza. U.S. President Joe Biden stated that he is “devastated.”

Fallen IDF soldier Itay Chen. Credit: IDF.
Fallen IDF soldier Itay Chen. Credit: IDF.

U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Sgt. Itay Chen, 19, from Netanya, was killed on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists, who are holding his body in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces revealed on Tuesday.

Chen, who was stationed at the Nahal Oz army base as part of a tank unit when he was captured along with three other soldiers, was one of six hostages with U.S. citizenship thought to have still been alive in Gaza. The IDF informed his family before making the news public.

“Today, our hearts are heavy. Jill and I are devastated to learn that American Itay Chen was killed by Hamas during its brutal terrorist assault on Oct. 7,” stated U.S. President Joe Biden, who said he met in December with Chen’s father and brother.

“No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through. At the end of our meeting, they gave me a menorah—a solemn reminder that light will always dispel the darkness, and evil will not win,” Biden stated. “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.”

Chen’s death brings the IDF’s death toll since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 to 249. Since the start of the war on Oct. 7, 590 Israeli soldiers have died on all fronts.

IDF kills terrorist who fired mortar shells at Israeli territory

IDF forces in Gaza eliminated a terrorist who had just launched mortar shells at southern Israel, the military said on Tuesday. Additionally, fighter jets struck military compounds and terrorist infrastructure in the area.

Meanwhile, in central Gaza, troops located and dismantled rocket launchers used to fire at Israeli territory. A terror cell that fired two rockets at Israeli forces during the operation was eliminated. No IDF casualties were reported.

Israeli forces on Tuesday continued to clear terrorist elements from the Qatari-funded Hamad City residential complex in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, locating a military compound containing weapons, equipment and explosive devices. A four-man terror cell was eliminated in the area after attempting to plant an explosive device next to a compound where Israeli forces were operating.

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