The father of two missing Argentine men in Israel confirmed they are being held hostage by Hamas but that they are “alive and well.”
The brothers Yair (45) and Eitan (37) Horn disappeared on October 7, the day of the first Hamas attack in Israel, and their family suspected they had been kidnapped. Some of the 24 hostages released on Friday by Hamas said they had seen or been with them, according to their father Itzik Horn, said news agency Télam.
Argentina’s state news agency Télam reported on Sunday that their father Itzik Horn received reports from several of the hostages released on Friday by Hamas about the Horn brothers
“Dear friends, I have very good news for you,” said Horn in a voice note, according to Télam. Horn, an Argentine-Israeli who has been living in Israel for over 20 years, explained that 12 former hostages lived in the same kibbutz where Hamas allegedly kidnapped his sons. One had been held in the same place as the brothers, while another claimed they had been kidnapped in the same car.
“The kids are effectively well, they are alive, which is the most important thing,” their father said. “Now, we need to be patient, because this will drag on.”
At least 20 Argentines are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza strip, and another nine have died since the war started, the Argentine Foreign Ministry told the Herald.
This week, Hamas and Israel reached a four-day ceasefire which includes hostage-prisoner swaps. As part of their agreement, on Friday Hamas released 24 hostages, including 13 Israelis, 10 Thais, and a Filipino; Israel did the same with 39 Palestinian prisoners. Daniel Aloni and her six-year-old daughter Emillia, who have family in Argentina, were among those released. None of the Argentine hostages have been released yet.
On Saturday, Hamas released another 17 hostages, in exchange for the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners. Another swap is expected to happen on Sunday.
Horn said he didn’t receive any information on whether his sons will be released as part of the Israel and Hamas agreement. For now, the people who are being freed are mostly elderly women, mothers with their children, and teenagers.
On October 11, a video showing friends and family members of the Horn brothers demanding their release and for information on their whereabouts went viral. Some famous Argentines like actor Ricardo Darín participated in the video, in which they called for the release of all the Argentine hostages, and showed pictures of Yair and Eitan Horn.
Israel launched its assault on Gaza after Hamas fighters burst across the border fence into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Since then, Israel has rained bombs on the Hamas-ruled enclave, killing some 14,000 Gazans, around 40% of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes to escape the violence, including most people in the northern half of Gaza including Gaza City, which Israel ordered evacuated and has pulverized in its ground assault.
—with information from Télam