Two Tanzanian students taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza have been named by both the Israeli and Tanzanian authorities.
Joshua Loitu Mollel and Clemence Felix Mtenga were in Israel as part of an agricultural internship programme, Israel’s foreign minister said on X
“They were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and are being held hostage in Gaza,” the statement read.
Mr Mollel’s father told the BBC he has hope that his eldest son will return safely.
He said that Tanzania’s ambassador to Israel had assured him the two governments were working together to secure their release.
Before it was confirmed that his son, 21, had been taken hostage, Mr Mollel told the BBC he couldn’t eat or sleep because he was desperate to know what had happened to him.
“When I go to the market people ask me why I’m losing so much weight,” he said last week.
The last time Mr Mollel spoke to his son was on Thursday 5 October – two days before the Hamas gunmen attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where he was studying.
The last words he said were: “Be on your best behaviour because you’re somewhere new, and make the most of the internship you’re there to do.”
Mr Mtenga’s family is yet to speak publicly.
They were among 260 Tanzanian students in Israel.
On 7 October 1,400 people were massacred by Hamas – which the UK, US and other Western powers class as a terrorist organisation – in Israel.
More than 220 hostages were taken over the border to the Gaza Strip which is under Hamas control.
Israel says they come from 25 countries, including one South African who is yet to be identified.
The South African authorities have not commented.
Hamas says it has hidden the hostages in “safe places and tunnels” within Gaza.
Four of the hostages have since been released, including Yocheved Lifschitz, an 85-year-old grandmother who was kidnapped alongside her husband Oded from a different kibbutz.
During the handover, she shook the hand of her Hamas captor. She said she had been beaten with sticks while being taken to Gaza but had otherwise been well treated.
Since the attack, Israel has retaliated with air strikes that have killed more than 8,000 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas.