Closure Amidst Tragic Uncertainty: Israeli Health Ministry Declares 7 Hostages Dead in Gaza
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Israeli officials, relying on video evidence and freed hostages’ accounts, have declared seven hostages dead in Gaza, offering closure to families amid the ongoing uncertainty.

By Rachel Weiss

In an interview with Kan radio on Sunday, Hagar Mizrachi, a Health Ministry official said that 7 hostages that remain in Gaza have been declared dead in absentia.

A three-person panel of medical experts, including a trauma clinician and a forensic pathologist, has determined that six civilians and an IDF colonel have most likely died in captivity.

Video footage taken by the terrorists themselves and testimony from hostages freed during the truce last week are being used to make these determinations.

The purpose of these efforts is to bring closure to the family members who are uncertain about whether their relatives are still alive in Gaza.

Israeli Health Ministry official, Hagar Mizrachi, told Kan radio, “Designation of death is never an easy matter, and certainly not in the situation embroiling us.”

The committee, addressed, “The desire of the families of loved ones abducted to Gaza to know as much as possible.”

The panel has been poring over the videos of the massacre, analyzing them frame by frame to determine the severity of the injuries and the likelihood of recovery.

In addition, the rough treatment as injured hostages were thrown on trucks might have also reduced chances for survival.

The testimony of freed hostages has also been highly informative in determining the likelihood that certain hostages are still alive in Gaza.

The panel doesn’t place any hostage in the category of deceased unless all three people in the panel have unanimously determined that all conditions are met.

The medical team also consulted with religious authorities for certain considerations, such as deciding when the mourning period should begin and determining when the wives left behind officially become widows.

Families have been informed individually, and Hagar Mizrachi has said families usually accept their determination.

“We are here to provide the professional side. We do not, God forbid, debate or confront the families regarding their decision, and we accept their choices with understanding.”

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