Israel says more than a third of the hostages are dead; A further 4 people have been confirmed dead in Hamas custody

Four Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 and a paramedic killed after “leaving his home to save lives” have died, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday.

Families of hostages The IDF said Nadav Popplewell, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Haim Perry were “no longer alive” and that Hamas had their remains.

“Our hearts go out to their families,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said. “Sorry. We couldn’t save them in time.”

Hagari also announced the death of Tolev Yehud, a 35-year-old paramedic who was killed on October 7.

“He left his house to save his life,” Hagari said, adding that Yehud survived with his pregnant wife and their three children. “He was killed by Hamas.”

The deaths were announced as a ceasefire proposal backed by President Joe Biden was challenged by right-wing ministers in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which opposes any deal with Hamas.

Netanyahu is also under pressure from the families of the remaining hostages, who are pushing for a deal that would secure the return of their loved ones.

About 120 Israeli hostages are now being held captive, nearly eight months after they were abducted in a deadly surprise attack by Hamas that sparked the Israeli assault on Gaza, official Israeli government figures said on Tuesday. Of those, 43 were reported to have died in captivity, government figures show.

“Its decision to declare the four hostages dead is based on intelligence,” the IDF said.

“We estimate that the four of them were killed together several months ago in the Khan Younis area by Hamas terrorists,” Hagari said of Popplewell, Metzger, Cooper and Perry.

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Hagari does not say how they died. But in March, al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubaidah said Perry, Metzger and Cooper were among seven hostages killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza.

Last month, Popplewell appeared in a propaganda video released by Hamas. Israeli media reported.

Popplewell, 51 and a dual Israeli-British citizen, was captured with his mother from their home in the Nirim kibbutz. His brother Roy Popplewell was killed in the attack. According to Israeli media.

Nadav Popplewell was captured from the Nirim kibbutz along with his mother on October 7. He was released in November.Jack Guez / AFP – Getty Images File

“It is with deep sadness that Kibbutz Nirim announces the death of Nadav Popplewell, who was abducted while in captivity by Hamas in Gaza,” the community said. A report was issued Monday.

Popplewell’s elderly mother, Hannah Berry, was among a group of a dozen Israeli hostages released on November 24 as part of a temporary cease-fire agreement.

Metzger, 80, lived in the Nir Os kibbutz and was last seen alive in a video released by Hamas in December.

At the time, his son Guy told NBC News that he was “really worried” about his father and that he was “very tired.”

“He’s very sick, and so are his friends,” the younger Metzger said. “We are very concerned about their condition.”

Perry, 80, also lived in the same kibbutz as Metzger, Hagari said.

“Haime is a peace activist,” Hagari said. “He fought for coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, he believed. Haim was a volunteer who transported sick children from Gaza to get medical treatment in Israel.”

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Hagari said Cooper, 85, was one of the founders of the Nir Os kibbutz.

Yehud was initially believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas. But after finding no sign that he had been detained in Gaza, the Israelis re-examined the remains found at the Nir Os kibbutz and identified Yehud’s body, the IDF said.

His remains were identified by the National Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Shura military base, the IDF said.

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