Hamas claimed on Wednesday that Shiri Bibas and her two children, 4-year-old Ariel and 10-month-old Kfir, who were kidnapped to the Gaza Strip on October 7, are dead. The terrorist organization has not provided proof for the claim, and Israel has not signaled so far that it is true.
The IDF said that it was "assessing the accuracy of the information" and that army representatives spoke with members of the Bibas family and informed them of the report.
The IDF statement also stated that "Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages in the Gaza Strip". It accused the terrorist organization of endangering the hostages, including nine children.
The family of the hostages said they were aware of Hamas' claims and "waiting for the information to be either confirmed or, hopefully, refuted soon by military sources."
The army said this week that the Bibas family were kidnapped by Hamas together with their father Yarden, but were being held by another terrorist faction in the Khan Younis area of the southern Gaza Strip.
The image of a frightened Shiri Bibas clutching her two small, red-headed children while being taken captive by terrorists has become one of the most synonymous visuals with the tragic events of October 7.
Since the outbreak of the war, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have made false claims about the deaths of several hostages, and the credibility of the claim is unclear.
Earlier this month, Islamic Jihad claimed that Israeli hostage Hanna Katzir, 77, who appeared in one of the Islamist terrorist group's propaganda videos had died in captivity due to "medical complications." However, she was returned to Israel alive last Friday with the first batch of released hostages.
Hamas also claimed that Corporal Noa Marciano, an IDF lookout abducted to Gaza on October 7 and appeared in one of its propaganda videos, was killed in an Israeli airstrike. However, a postmortem found that Marciano had been murdered by Hamas terrorists after arriving at Gaza City's Al Shifa Hospital, where her body and that of Israeli hostage Yehudit Weiss were found.