Home News Israel says 4 more hostages died in Gaza a few months ago

Israel says 4 more hostages died in Gaza a few months ago

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Israel’s military said Monday that four other hostages kidnapped months ago in a Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 have died in Gaza. The revelation is likely to put additional pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to move forward with a ceasefire.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a news conference on Monday that the four hostages were believed to have been killed “several months ago” near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza as Israeli forces were fighting in the area. The military identified the hostages as Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell.

Admiral Hajari said the decision to announce the hostages’ deaths on Monday was based on “recently verified additional intelligence that today confirms that the four are dead,” adding that he knew “difficult questions” about the circumstances of their deaths would arise. The Israeli military said the families of the four had been informed that their bodies were being held by Hamas and that the circumstances of their deaths “are still under investigation.”

The Hostage Families Forum, a support group, issued a statement calling on the Israeli government to immediately negotiate a deal to release the remaining hostages. The forum said the four hostages who were declared dead on Monday were alive when they were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nirim and Nir Oz and had shown “signs of life” during their abduction.

“Their killing in captivity is a disgrace and a sad reflection of the delay in implementing previous agreements,” the group said.

Netanyahu has come under increasing pressure to end the fighting in Gaza since President Biden publicly backed Israel’s three-phase ceasefire proposal last week. Threatened to overthrow his government If Israel reaches any agreement that ends the war without eliminating Hamas.

On Monday, Netanyahu told lawmakers behind closed doors that President Biden did not present the “full picture” when describing the proposed ceasefire, according to a person who attended the meeting and requested anonymity to discuss private discussions. But the person said the Israeli leader was open to a 42-day ceasefire and at least some of the first phase of the ceasefire plan.

Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, said on March 1 that the three men now declared dead — Mr. Cooper, Mr. Metzger and Mr. Perry — were among seven hostages killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes.

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