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US-Israeli citizen who was kidnapped on Oct. 7 confirmed dead, IDF says

A U.S.-Israeli citizen who was kidnapped on Oct. 7 while Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel and massacred hundreds has been confirmed dead, the Israel Defense Forces announced.

The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum headquarters said it was mourning the slaying of Sergeant Itay Chen, who served on the Gaza border and was taken hostage on what is considered in Israel as ‘Black Saturday.’ Itay’s body ‘is still being held captive by Hamas,’ according to Israeli officials. 

‘We share in the profound grief of the Chen family. Itay Chen (19) was always surrounded by friends. A beloved individual who drew others to him with his warm presence. Itay loved the land, going on hikes, and was a senior instructor in youth movements – a salt of the earth person,’ a statement in his memory read. 

‘Itay was very attached to Gucci, the family’s pet dog,’ the statement continued. ‘He played basketball greatly enjoyed sports, good food, and listening to music. Itay was the middle child of three siblings. He had been in a relationship for over a year with Neta, whom he called the love of his life.’ 

As of Tuesday, there are 134 hostages who remain held in Gaza, and 34 of them are considered dead.

President Biden issued a statement through the White House reacting to the news of Chen’s death. 

‘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 October 7,’ Biden said. 
 
‘In December, Itay’s father and brother joined me at the White House, to share the agony and uncertainty they’ve faced as they prayed for the safe return of their loved one. 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,’ he continued. ‘Today, as we join Itay’s parents, brothers, and family in grieving this tragic loss, we keep this reminder close to our hearts. And 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 parents and an aunt attended Biden’s State of the Union address last week as guests of Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. 

Chen was on active duty in a tank unit on Oct. 7. The Times of Israel reported that he was last heard from at 6:40 a.m. the morning of the attack.

Chen was one of six U.S. citizens who remained held by Hamas. During his State of the Union address on Thursday, Biden said he had been ‘working non-stop to establish an immediate ceasefire’ that would last for six weeks to get all the remaining hostages released. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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