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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Israeli military says 4 more hostages in Gaza are dead, killed months ago

By Aanushka Patil

The Israeli military said Monday that an additional four hostages who were abducted in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel were “no longer alive.”

The Israeli military said it had notified the families of the four and that their bodies were being held by Hamas. It identified them as Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesperson, said at a news briefing Monday that the men were believed to have been killed together “several months ago” near Khan Younis, in the central Gaza Strip, while Israeli forces were operating in the area.

A spokesperson for Hamas’ military wing, Abu Ubaida, had announced in March that three of the men — Cooper, Metzger and Perry — were among seven hostages who had been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Hagari said the decision to announce the hostages’ deaths Monday was based on “additional intelligence, which had been verified recently, making it possible to determine today that the four are no longer alive,” adding that he knew “difficult questions” would arise about the circumstances of their deaths.

In a statement demanding that the Israeli government immediately negotiate the release of the remaining hostages, the Hostages Families Forum, a support group, said the four were alive when they were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nirim and Kibbutz Nir Oz during the Oct. 7 attacks, and that there had been “signs of life” in the interim period.

“Their murder in captivity is a mark of disgrace and a sad reflection on the significance of delaying previous deals,” the group said.

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