Nine US citizens killed in Hamas attacks on Israel, state department says

Harriet Sherwood

The Guardian  /  October 9, 2023 

Death toll up to 800, including French, Argentinian, Thai and Nepalese, with at least 10 UK citizens reportedly dead or missing.

Nine US citizens are confirmed to have been killed in the Hamas onslaught on Israel at the weekend, as the casualty figures in Israel rose above 800.

As it became clear that the dead included people from different backgrounds and originally from countries other than Israel, the BBC reported that at least 10 British citizens were dead or missing. France confirmed the deaths of two of its citizens, and there were reports that as many as nine French people were missing, dead or taken hostage. German citizens are also thought to have been killed or kidnapped.

Matthew Miller, a US state department spokesperson, said: “At this time, we can confirm the deaths of nine US citizens. We can confirm that there are unaccounted-for US citizens, and we are working with our Israeli partners to determine their whereabouts.”

The BBC said it had been told by an official source that more than 10 British citizens were feared dead or missing. One was Nathanial Young, 20, who was serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Young was a former pupil at JFS, a Jewish school in north London.

The family of Dan Darlington, a photographer, believed him to be dead, the Mirror reported.

Another Briton, Jack Marlowe, who was working as a security guard at the music festival attacked by Hamas militants, has been reported missing.

Two Argentinians have been reported dead and two Brazilians missing after the attack.

Rodolfo Fabián Skariszewski, 56, from Córdoba in Argentina, was reportedly killed in Ohad, a moshav near the Gaza Strip, while walking his dog on Saturday morning.

Abi Korin, who lived at the Holit kibbutz near Gaza, was also killed, according to the country’s Jewish News Agency (AJN).

Israel’s population has a high proportion of people who have “made aliyah”, the term used for Jews who have chosen to make the country their home.

The dead also included 12 Thai workers employed on farms near the Gaza border. A further 11 Thais were believed to have been abducted by Hamas militants, and eight were injured.

According to Thailand’s Labour Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, about 5,000 Thai labourers work in the area where fighting has been taking place.

One Thai worker told the BBC: “I was running and crawling underneath a truck then the Hamas pulled me out and pointed the gun at me at point blank before firing to the ground.” The worker, who declined to be named, managed to escape.

Nepal said 10 of its citizens had been killed.

Seven Filipinos remained unaccounted for on Monday, the Philippines foreign affairs department said.

More than 50 countries are thought to have citizens working inside Israel, many in agriculture and as cleaners and carers.

As Israeli security forces battled to regain control of communities and towns in the south of the country, the number of casualties rose. People were discovered to have been killed in their homes and cars, and on the streets.

An account by Reut Karp about the murder of her children’s father, Dvir Karp, in Kibbutz Re’im was posted on Facebook. At 8.20am on Sunday, “terrorists entered Dvir’s house. He threw an axe at them,” she said.

Dvir Karp had tried to protect the children, but he was killed in front of them, she wrote. His girlfriend “also tried, but they killed her too”.

Mor Bayder said her grandmother had been killed in Kibbutz Nir Oz. “A terrorist broke into her home, murdered her, took her phone, photographed the horror, and posted it on her Facebook account. That’s how we found out.”

Hannah Ben-Artzi, 69, was killed in Kfar Aviv by a rocket while trying to open a public shelter for people without access to shelters in their homes.

The dead also included emergency service workers, police officers and members of the IDF. Most young Israelis are required to serve in the armed forces for two or three years after leaving school. Many of the dead IDF members are aged between 18 and 23.

Ten Bedouin Israelis, including six children, were also among the dead.

Harriet Sherwood writes about arts and culture for The Guardian; she was previously Jerusalem correspondent, foreign editor and home editor