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Israel-Hamas war rages as Biden delivers Oval Office address: Live updates

8:58 p.m. ET, October 19, 2023

2 additional American citizens identified as among those kidnapped and taken to Gaza 

Two additional American citizens, Judih Weinstein Haggai, 70, and her husband, Gadi Haggai, 72, are being counted by Israeli officials as being kidnapped, their daughter told CNN.  

Iris Haggai-Liniado says her parents were on their morning walk about a mile and a half from their home in Nir Oz, a kibbutz just a few miles from the Gaza border when they heard an extraordinary number of rockets flying overhead. 

The couple hit the dirt and tried to call for help as rockets blasted in from Gaza and gunfire could be heard in the distance. That was the last moment Iris heard from her parents.

The Haggai family says Israeli military officials and police finally spoke to them earlier this week and confirmed signals from her parents’ mobile phones were last pinpointed in Gaza.

After hours of frantically calling her parents and trying to get information from others in the community of Nir Oz, Iris said she and her family finally heard from a local paramedic who was trying to get help to them. 

“He said that my mom called him at 7:04 a.m., she said that they were both shot by terrorists on a motorcycle, that my Dad is shot really bad, and she thinks he might be dead and that she needs medical assistance,” said Haggai-Liniado, in an interview with CNN Thursday from her home in Singapore. 

“It’s just chaos basically, I don’t think anyone really knows how to handle this,” she said, adding the scope of the tragedy and the horrific atrocities committed in her Kibbutz of Nir Oz are hard to fathom.  

Haggai-Liniado says her parents are an amazing couple who were committed to peace throughout their lives. 

Haggai-Liniado said her mother was born in New York but grew up in Toronto before moving to Israel in her 20s where she met and married Gadi. The family has not been in touch with the Canadian government, she said, but remains in near-daily contact with US officials, including the FBI, which is providing them some comfort. They participated in a virtual call with US President Joe Biden last week, she added.

“It is nice to know that your parents are recognized somewhere because at this time we didn’t hear from the Israeli government for days,” said Haggai-Liniado.

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