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Ernst Statement on Loss of American Itay Chen at Hands of Hamas

Calls to end any delay in releasing remaining hostages.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst released the following statement after the Israeli Defense Forces confirmed American citizen Itay Chen was killed by Iran-backed Hamas on October 7.

“My heart goes out to Ruby and Hagit Chen who, for over 150 days, have wondered if their son Itay was dead or alive.

“Now we know the heartbreaking news, and one thing is sure: This tragedy happened due to the brutality and inhumanity of Iran-backed Hamas. While it has always been my hope and the desire of the Chen family to bring him home alive, we will not forget Itay’s bravery on October 7, as he defended other innocent civilians from Hamas’s terrorist attacks.

“Itay’s story and the calls of his parents will not go unheard. In Congress, I will continue in my unwavering support to restore our hostage families. Every second counts.”


Ernst has been in close communication with the hostage families since the horrific October 7 attack and has led the charge in demanding the Biden administration and our partners and allies in the Middle East do more to release the hostages.

She hosted the Chen family at the State of the Union and committed to sharing their story until all American citizens are returned home.