Israeli hostage kidnapped from music festival by Hamas on October 7 found dead by IDF

15 December 2023, 08:51 | Updated: 15 December 2023, 09:06

Elia Toledano
Elia Toledano. Picture: Handout

By Kit Heren

An Israeli man who was taken hostage from a festival by Hamas in the October 7 attacks has been found dead in Gaza, as well as two teenage soldiers also taken captive.

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Elia Toledano, who also had French citizenship, was snatched from the Nova music festival as Hamas terrorists attacked.

He was at the event with his friend Mia Schem, who has since been freed as part of prisoner exchanges between Israel and Hamas.

The cause of Mr Toledano's death has not been made clear, nor where in Gaza he was found by Israeli troops.

The French government shared their "sorrow" at Mr Toledano's death.

Two 19-year-old soldiers, Nik Beizer and Ron Scherman, were also found dead on Friday after being taken hostage on October 7. The IDF said they "share in the grief of the families".

Read more: 'Two-state solution is the right outcome', Sunak insists, after Israel's ambassador says it is 'absolutely not' possible

Read more: Bodies of two Israeli hostages taken in October 7 Hamas onslaught recovered from Gaza

Israeli soldiers embrace next to photos of people killed and taken captive by Hamas militants during their violent rampage through the Nova music festival
Israeli soldiers embrace next to photos of people killed and taken captive by Hamas militants during their violent rampage through the Nova music festival. Picture: Alamy

More than 130 hostages are thought to remain in Gaza. Hamas took about 240 in total, in the same attacks where they killed 1,200 people.

Israel has invaded Gaza to destroy Hamas and recover the hostages. A week-long truce saw 110 hostages returned, but that ended at the start of December and fighting has resumed.

Nearly 19,000 people in Gaza have died, according to Hamas, and many have called for a ceasefire. Others have championed Israel's right to defend itself within international law.

Ben Kentish suggests 'we are further from peace than ever' in the Middle East.

The IDF said in a statement: "The body of 28-year-old Elia Toledano who was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7, has been recovered by our Special Forces in an operation in Gaza and brought back to Israel.

"The IDF sends the family its heartfelt condolences.

"Our national mission is to locate the hostages and return all of them home.

Elia Toledano's brother Daniel
Elia Toledano's brother Daniel. Picture: Getty

"We are working together with security agencies, and with all intelligence and operational means in order to return all of the hostages home."

French foreign affairs minister Catherine Colonna said she felt "Immense sorrow at the announcement by the Israeli armed forces of the death of our compatriot Elia Toledano, hostage of Hamas and whose remains were found in Gaza."

She added: "We share the pain of his family and loved ones. The release of all hostages is our priority."

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