One of the Israeli female hostages who was kidnapped into Gaza by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 was found murdered in a building close to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Israel Defense Forces announced on Thursday.
The body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, a mother of 5, was found by IDF soldiers from the 7th Armored Brigade’s 603rd Battalion during their ground operations near the hospital. The troops also found assault rifles and RPGs, belonging to the Hamas terrorists who were holding her captive.
“To our sorrow, Yehudit was murdered by the terrorists in the Gaza Strip. And we didn’t get to her in time,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said in his daily press briefing on Thursday evening.
“The IDF is operating alongside and in full coordination with the relevant national and security institutions in order to pursue these tasks. We will not cease from the mission until it will be completed,” the IDF said in a statement.
Weiss was abducted from Kibbutz Be’eri on the day of the Hamas surprise invasion and attack, which saw horrific devastation when at least 2,000 Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking at least 240 hostages into Gaza. Her husband Shmulik, murdered by terrorists in the family’s safe room, was found about a week and a half after the massacre.
Weiss was retired but worked in the kibbutz dining room and with the kindergarten children of the kibbutz. She was receiving radiation treatment for breast cancer when she was kidnapped.
Yehudit Weiss is the second Israeli hostage found murdered while held captive by Hamas.
The same IDF battalion recovered the body of 19-year-old Cpl. Noa Marciano, based on intelligence information provided by Israel's security agency.
On Nov. 14 Marciano was confirmed murdered in captivity. She served in Combat Intelligence Collection Corps 414th unit on the Nahal Oz IDF military base when Hamas terrorists invaded on Oct. 7.
Her body was brought to Israel for identification.
On Monday evening Hamas released a propaganda video showing Marciano. In the clip, she is at first seen alive and reading a propaganda message but, following a video cut, the clip returns to show what Hamas claims to be her dead body, alleging she was killed by an Israeli airstrike.
During an interview with Channel 12 news on Thursday, the relatives of Weiss urged the government to find and bring home the other hostages before it is too late.
“It’s important for us to say that we fought, we battled in every possible way to bring mom, grandma Yehudit home,” her daughter Zemer said.
“For us, it is too late, but it is important for us to support all the families of the hostages, and to tell the world, bring them home now, so that for them it is not too late, like it was for us.”
Weiss' son Ohad said it may still not be too late for other families yearning for their kidnapped family members to come home.
“We wished, we hoped, and sadly for us, it is too late, but maybe for the other families, it isn’t. We wish for the return of everyone, all of them, children, soldiers and adults. We love them all and fear for them all,” Ohad said.
Earlier on Thursday, the family members of the abductees and the missing, alongside hundreds of Israelis, marched for the third day from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, which they plan to reach on Saturday. On the way they stopped in Modi'in, where they visited with the Marciano family to pay condolences.
The mother of Noa Marciano, Adi, spoke about her daughter to the families of the hostages.
“It’s hard to talk about Noa in the past tense,” she said.
“Noa is a girl of light and love, with kind eyes that tell a story of giving, of a smile that is never-ending. The fight for Noa and her return is not over. There is no grave. They told me to sit shiva, and we didn’t even have the funeral that she deserved.”
Adi called on the Israeli government not to abandon the hostages.
“We were abandoned once on that Shabbat [of Oct. 7] and we won’t allow you to abandon us again. Meet with all the families here and in their homes and give us answers. Tell us that there is someone to speak with in Gaza. There’s always someone to speak to. It’s your responsibility to bring back Noa and all the others.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.