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IDF tells families of 4 Israeli hostages held in Gaza ‘they are no longer alive’

The Israel Defense Forces says its representatives have informed the families of four hostages being held in Gaza “that they are no longer alive.”

The IDF said it had told the families of Chaim Peri, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper, and Nadav Popplewell “who were brutally abducted to the Gaza Strip on October 7, that they are no longer alive and that their bodies are held by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

The IDF said the decision to pronounce the four hostages dead was based on intelligence and was confirmed by a Ministry of Health expert committee, in coordination with the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The circumstances of their deaths in Hamas captivity are still under examination, according to the IDF, which says it uses a “a wide variety of methods to gather information about the hostages who remain in the Gaza Strip.”

Chief spokesperson for the IDF, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said “Their loved ones were killed a few months ago during Hamas captivity in Gaza and their bodies are still being held by Hamas. We assess that the four of them were killed while together in the area of Khan Younis during an operation there against Hamas.”

In May, Hamas said Popplewell, an Israeli-British citizen, had died from wounds following a strike by Israeli fighter jets on his place of detention over a month earlier.

More than 250 people were taken hostage and moved to Gaza during Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel but more than 100 were released during a temporary truce last year. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office believes there are still 124 hostages, living and dead, in Gaza – four of whom were taken before October 7. Of the remaining 120 who were taken on October 7, Israel now believes 41 are dead.

Israeli War Cabinet minister and Chairman of Israel’s National Unity Party, Benny Gantz sent condolences to the families of those declared dead on Monday, saying on his Telegram channel the news was “a painful reminder of our supreme moral duty to continue to fight against terrorism and to do everything to return all the hostages home as soon as possible, even at painful costs.”

The latest deaths are likely to increase pressure on the Israeli leadership to secure a ceasefire proposal outlined by US President Joe Biden last week.

Following news of the four deaths, the Hostage and Missing Families Forum in Israel reiterated its demand to the Israeli government to immediately approve the proposal.

The organization called the news of the four deaths a mark of disgrace and a sad reflection on the significance of delaying previous deals.

“The Israeli government must send out a negotiating delegation this evening and return all 124 hostages, both living and murdered, to their homes,” the group said in a statement Monday.

“Chaim, Yoram, Amiram, and Nadav were kidnapped alive, some of them were with other hostages who returned in the previous deal – and they should have returned alive to their country and their families,” the statement added.

The three-phase proposal outlined by Biden on Friday would secure the release of hostages paired with a ceasefire.

The US president outlined the plan – which he said was proposed by Israel – in unusual detail in what appears to have been an attempt to pressure both Israel and Hamas into an agreement.

On Monday, leaders from the Group of 7 (G7) nations added to that pressure by endorsing the proposal, calling on Hamas to accept it, and claiming that “Israel is ready to move forward” with it.

However, whether Israel is, in fact, “ready to move forward” with the plan laid out by Biden remains something of an unknown, as the Israeli government has offered a series of non-committal statements that have created a degree of uncertainty about the plan.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameroon also noted the proposal in a post on the social media platform X, in which he said he was “greatly saddened” by the death of Israeli-British citizen Popplewell. “My thoughts are with his loved ones at this terrible time for them,” Cameron wrote. “With a new deal on the table, we reiterate our demand for Hamas to send all hostages home.”

Husbands, fathers, brothers

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum released the following information on the four hostages declared dead Monday.

Nadav Popplewell: 51, from Kibbutz Nirim, a family man of distinction and a generous friend, a lover of books and science fiction.

Nadav was kidnapped from his home’s safe room along with his mother, Channa Peri, who was released after 49 days in captivity.

His older brother, Roy, was murdered on October 7.

Amiram Cooper: 84, one of the founders of Kibbutz Nir Oz. He was kidnapped together with his wife, Nurit, who was released from Hamas captivity after 17 days.

Amiram saw the establishment of the kibbutz as his life’s mission.

He was an economist, poet, and composer.

He is survived by his wife, three children, and nine grandchildren.

Yoram Metzger: 80, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, kidnapped from his home along with his wife, Tamar, who was released from Hamas captivity after 53 days.

Yoram was a man of family and people, stories and humor. He was one of the founders of the Nir Oz Winery.

Yoram is survived by his wife Tamar, three children, and seven grandchildren.

Chaim Peri: 80, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a man of peace, art, and cinema.

He taught in schools in the area and at Sapir College.

He established and built the art gallery in the kibbutz and the sculpture garden.

He was one of the founders of the Nir Oz Winery.

Chaim was abducted from the safe room in his home while protecting his wife, Osnat.

He is survived by his wife, five children, and 13 grandchildren.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

This post appeared first on cnn.com
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