UW Ph.D. graduate among the Americans dead from Hamas attack

Oct 9, 2023, 1:12 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm

uw graduate dead hamas...

This photo shows Dr. Hayim Katsman, a former University of Washington Ph.D. student who was killed in his Israel apartment by Hamas militants during their surprise attack on the country on Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Katsman's Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Hannah Katsman's Facebook page)

Hayim Katsman, Ph.D., a former University of Washington (UW) graduate, was one of the Americans found dead after Hamas attacked Be’eri, Israel, on Oct. 7.

Katsman, 32, was found dead in his apartment. The death toll on both sides soared to around 1,500, with 11 Americans among the dead, according to CBS News.

His mother, Hannah Katsman, said he received his Ph.D. from the UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in 2021. Hayim’s mother told ABC News he was born in the U.S. and had been living on a kibbutz in Israel doing research. Katsman’s research focused on the “interrelations of religion and politics in the Middle East, focusing on Israel/Palestine,” according to UW’s website.

More on Hamas attack: Protestors clash in Kirkland over Hamas attack

Hannah Katsman said she initially thought her son had been taken captive, according to ABC News, but she later learned he was killed when Hamas militants burst into his home and found him hiding with his neighbors in his closet. She learned one of the neighbors was released, while her son and a female neighbor were immediately shot and killed.

“I’ve been getting so many messages from people who worked with Hayim or who knew him, or who met him during their travels and how warm he was, how open,” Hannah Katsman told ABC News. “He was a very accepting person and a very loyal friend. He had a good sense of humor. He took things in stride.”

In 2020, Katsman won the Baruch Kimmerling prize for best graduate paper, Association for Israel Studies, according to UW.

The attack was launched on the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that pitted Israel against Egypt and Syria. After the attack occurred early in the morning, where an estimated 2,200 rockets were fired toward southern and central Israel, Mohammed Deif, commander in chief of the Hamas’ military arm Al Qassam Brigades, released a video claiming responsibility for the attack.

“The Zionist colonial occupation occupied our Palestinian homeland and displaced our people, destroyed our towns and villages, committed hundreds of massacres against our people, killing children, women and elderly people and demolishing homes with their inhabitants inside in violation of all international norms, laws and human rights conventions,” Mohammed Deif said in a translation from the video.

More on the Israel-Palestine conflict: Israel strikes and seals off Gaza after incursion by Hamas, which vows to execute hostages

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated “fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft and artillery struck over 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip” Sunday night and Monday morning in a retaliatory attack, according to CBS News.

Israel formally declared war Sunday.

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UW Ph.D. graduate among the Americans dead from Hamas attack