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Dual U.S.-Israeli citizen released by Hamas has CT ties

FILE: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, on which are projected pictures of the hostages abducted by Palestinian militants on the October 7 attack and currently held in the Gaza Strip, on November 6, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
Ahmad Gharabli / AFP
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FILE: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, on which are projected pictures of the hostages abducted by Palestinian militants on the October 7 attack and currently held in the Gaza Strip, on November 6, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

An Israeli-American citizen kidnapped by Hamas in October and released Wednesday has Connecticut ties.

Liat Beinin Atzili, 49, has family in Waterford and she visited the state in August, according to the former executive director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut.

After her release, the death of her husband, Aviv, was announced Wednesday. Both were present during the attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Liat Atzili is the second Israeli American hostage released by Hamas from Gaza.

Atzili’s cousin, Boaz Atzili, a professor in Washington D.C., told NPR Wednesday morning he was relieved Liat is home and reunited with her three children.

“Both sides, as far as I’m concerned, have lost the war already,” he said. “The question is how we get from all that suffering to a path that leads to hope – rather than more suffering. And that requires a lot of political courage. And I’m not sure either side has the courage right now.”

Congressman Joe Courtney, a Democrat who represents Waterford, called the death of Liat Atzili’s husband "heartbreaking and infuriating."

"The willful inability of Hamas to account for its despicable assault left Aviv’s family totally in the dark about his whereabouts over the last seven weeks," Courtney said in a statement. "The relief Liat and her family in Israel and Connecticut experienced upon her release is now buried in grief."

Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old Israeli American dual citizen, was the first U.S. hostage to be released under the cease fire. Both of her parents were killed in the Hamas attack that started the war on Oct. 7.

NPR, the Associated Press and Connecticut Public’s Patrick Skahill contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Jennifer Ahrens is a producer for Morning Edition. She spent 20+ years producing TV shows for CNN and ESPN. She joined Connecticut Public Media because it lets her report on her two passions, nature and animals.

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