US death toll in Israel now at 22, with increase expected as identities are confirmed

By Ron Kampeas

American Roey Weiser, a soldier who died trying to repel the first wave of infiltrators (Facebook)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The number of Americans confirmed to be among the hundreds of people killed during the Hamas invasion of Israel is now at 22.

John Kirby, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, said Wednesday at the White House press briefing that the number of known dead was now 22, up from 14 on Tuesday and that the number of those missing had dropped from 20 to 17, as missing Americans were identified as dead.

He did not name the dead Americans, nor did he know how many of them were dual Israeli citizens, but he said the number was likely to rise.

“I think we all need to steel ourselves for the very distinct possibility that these numbers will keep increasing and that we may in fact, find out that more Americans are part of the hostage pool,” Kirby said, affirming that Americans were among the people held hostage by Hamas, although he did not have a number.

The names of American victims, mostly with dual citizenship, have trickled out as deaths have been confirmed. They include Hayim Katsman, a peace activist murdered in his home, and Roey Weiser, a soldier who died trying to repel the first wave of infiltrators. Gili Adar, a member of the Young Judea movement, was attending an overnight outdoor party where Hamas terrorists massacred at least 260 people. Aryeh Ziering, whose parents are from New York and Maine, was a 27-year-old captain in the Israeli army’s dog-handling unit. Itay Glisko is being mourned by a large extended family in New Jersey, where he was born.

Israeli authorities have so far set the number of dead killed during the invasion by land, sea and air at over 1,200.

Gaza’s health ministry says more than 1,100 people have been killed in retaliatory airstrikes. Israeli officials also reported that 1,500 Hamas fighters died inside Israel’s borders during the assault.

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