Fears for hostage baby Kfir Bibas after Hamas say he was killed in airstrike, as Israel investigate claims

29 November 2023, 14:42 | Updated: 29 November 2023, 17:34

Kfir Bibas and his family were taken hostage
Kfir Bibas and his family were taken hostage. Picture: Bring Them Home

By Kit Heren

Fears are mounting for Kfir Bibas, a ten-month-old baby taken hostage in Gaza, after Hamas said he was killed in an airstrike.

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Israel said it was investigating the claims, made by Hamas' armed wing Al Qassam Brigades. The terror group has not provided any evidence.

Hamas said that Kfir, aged ten months, as well as his mother Shiri Silberman-Babis, 30, and his four-year-old brother Ariel, had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The terror group did not provide an update on Kfir's father Yarden, who was also among the hostages.

The family were taken from their home in the Nir Oz kibbutz in southern Israel on October 7, as part of the attacks that killed 1,200 people. Roughly a third of the hostages have been released so far, but Kfir's relatives do not know what happened to him, his parents and brother.

Read more: Family of 10-month Israeli baby held hostage fear Hamas 'keeping him as a trophy' as he is not on latest release list

Read more: Hamas 'refuses to give youngest hostage back to Israel' and hands 10-month-old baby to separate terror group

Kfir Bibas
Kfir Bibas. Picture: Alamy

The IDF said that it was "examining the reliability of the information" and that representatives "spoke with the members of the Bibas family, informed them of the publication [of the claims] and are with them at this time".

The family said: "Our family has learned of Hamas' latest claims.

"We are waiting for the information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials."

The Israeli army also said that Hamas alone was responsible for the safety of the hostages.

Kfir and Ariel are thought to be the youngest hostages still being held in captivity by the terrorists in Gaza. Dozens of captives have been released over the past few days as part of a truce deal with Israel.

It is unclear which group has been holding the family. Reports have emerged that they are being held captive by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist terror group.

An IDF spokesman said on Tuesday that the family had been moved to the southern city of Khan Younis.

Ofri Bibas Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, held hostage in Gaza with his wife, Shiri and two kids, Kfir and Ariel, talks to the media earlier this month
Ofri Bibas Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, held hostage in Gaza with his wife, Shiri and two kids, Kfir and Ariel, talks to the media earlier this month. Picture: Alamy

The hostages' relatives have said that waiting for information about them has been "psychological torture".

Palestinian terror groups have made false and contested claims about Israeli activities in the past.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed that 77-year-old Hannah Katzir was killed in an IDF strike, but she was later released.

Hamas also said that an Israeli airstrike had hit the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, but Israel, the US and others said the blast was caused by a faulty rocket launched from within the strip.

Dr David Wearing discusses what comes next in the Israel-Hamas four day humanitarian pause

Israel and Hamas have been fighting for seven weeks, since Hamas launched its raids into southern Israel.

Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing Israeli bombardment and ground invasion, Gaza health authorities have said, with hundreds of thousands more displaced.

The two sides called a four-day truce on Friday to release hostages and let aid into Gaza. The truce was extended until Wednesday on Monday. Egyptian security sources told Reuters on Wednesday that they thought the truce could be extended by a further two days.

Israel had been releasing three Palestinian prisoners per one hostage set free by Hamas.

Hamas has released some 81 hostages so far, in exchange for 180 Palestinian prisoners set free from Israeli prisons.