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Family marks 1st birthday of youngest Israeli hostage, Kfir Bibas

TEL AVIV, Israel — The family of baby Kfir Bibas, who was taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, is marking his 1st birthday without him today as he remains in captivity.

Bibas was 10 months old when he was kidnapped from his kibbutz, Nir Oz, along with his four-year-old brother, Ariel, and their parents, Shiri and Yarden.

Relatives of the family are expected to gather in “Hostage Square” in Tel Aviv this afternoon to mark the difficult milestone. Calling it one of the “saddest birthdays in the world,” the Hostage and Missing Persons Families Forum said the relatives would “make an impassioned plea” for Kfir Bibas’ release at the event. They said some of Israel’s leading children’s entertainers would also perform.

Kfir Bibas birthday
Menahem Kahana / AFP via Getty Images

“I thought they would be returned to us in a week, and then we’re sitting here three months after with no information,” Shiri’s cousin Yifat Zailer told NBC News earlier this week. “It’s really hard.”

Hamas said in November without providing evidence that Kfir Bibas had been killed in an Israeli bombardment alongside his mother and brother, without providing evidence. The IDF said the claims were unverified and accused Hamas of “psychological terrorism.”

American hostage held by Hamas misses birth of daughter

TEL AVIV — Shachar was born five weeks ago with curious eyes and two older sisters who adore her. But she’s missing one thing: Her father, Sagui Dekel-Chen, is one of the six American hostages still being held in Gaza. 

He’s never held his daughter. He doesn’t know her name, which means “Dawn” in Hebrew. He may not even know that his family survived the Oct. 7 attack. 

Dekel-Chen’s father, Jonathan, told NBC News that Sagui secured his wife, Avital, who was seven months pregnant, and their two daughters in a safe room before going out to confront the Hamas terrorists who had overrun their home in kibbutz Nir Oz.

When his family emerged from the safe room 10 hours later, Sagui was gone — kidnapped and taken into Gaza. 

“He actually does not know whether his wife and his daughter survived the attack. And so, the birth of Shachar is an enormous blessing for all of us but also a cause of even greater heartache because he simply cannot know in captivity,” Jonathan said. 

The family said some of the hostages freed in an exchange in late November had seen Sagui briefly in Hamas tunnels, giving them comfort that he was alive as recently as Thanksgiving. 

Jonathan said he imagined seeing his son meet Shachar for the first time and reuniting with his family: “His two little girls are going to leap into his arms, and his wife and his new baby are going to hug him and never let him go.”

Vehicles inspected at a checkpoint in Balochistan

Pakistani security officials at a roadside checkpoint in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, yesterday.

Security intensified in Quetta following Iranian missile strike at the Pak-Iran border, Pakistan - 17 Jan 2024
Fayyaz Ahmed / EPA via Shutterstock
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