All 4 had been seen alive in Gaza in Hamas propaganda videos

Israel announces the deaths of four hostages in Hamas captivity

IDF promises to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Chaim Peri, 79, Amiram Cooper, 84, Yoram Metzger, 80, and Nadav Popplewell, 51

Chaim Peri, Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger and Nadav Popplewell (from L to R), whose deaths in Hamas captivity were confirmed by Israel on June 3, 2024. (Courtesy)
Chaim Peri, Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger and Nadav Popplewell (from L to R), whose deaths in Hamas captivity were confirmed by Israel on June 3, 2024. (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday that it had confirmed the deaths of four Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity, following the gathering of new intelligence findings.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a press briefing that the military could not immediately confirm the circumstances of the deaths of Chaim Peri, 79, Amiram Cooper, 84, Yoram Metzger, 80, and Nadav Popplewell, 51, but that it would investigate their deaths fully.

“We estimate that the four were killed together, in the Khan Younis area, several months ago, while being held by Hamas terrorists and while IDF forces were operating in Khan Younis,” he said.

“I know that difficult questions will arise regarding the circumstances of the deaths,” Hagari added, appearing to reference the possibility that the four had been mistakenly killed by IDF troops or Israeli airstrikes. “We are examining the circumstances of these deaths in depth, looking into all possibilities, and we will present the findings as soon as possible, first to the families and then to the public. We will present [the findings] transparently, as we have done so far.”

Peri, Cooper, and Metzger were abducted by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, while Popplewell was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nirim.

Cooper’s wife, Nurit, was also taken hostage and freed in October along with Yocheved Lifshitz, whose husband, Oded, remains a hostage in Gaza.

A still from a video released by Hamas’s armed wing showing hostages Yocheved Lifshitz, left, and Nurit Cooper before their release from captivity, October 23, 2023. (screen capture)

Metzger’s wife, Tami, was also kidnapped and was freed during the same weeklong truce, as was Popplewell’s mother, Channah Peri. His brother, Roi Popplewell, was murdered in the Hamas attack on Nirim.

Following the confirmation of their deaths, the Hostage Families Forum issued a statement expressing its “heartbreak” over the news, which should “shake up every citizen in the State of Israel, and elicit deep soul-searching in every leader.”

The forum said that “Haim, Yoram, Amiram, and Nadav were kidnapped alive, some of them were with other hostages who returned in the previous deal, and they should have come home alive to their country and their families!” The statement called on the government to immediately accept a deal to bring the remaining hostages home.

All four of the hostages had previously been seen alive in propaganda videos filmed during their captivity in Gaza and released by Hamas.

In December, Hamas published a video showing Peri, Cooper, and Metzger alive, and in March the terror group claimed that the three were killed by Israeli strikes. In May, Hamas shared a coerced propaganda clip featuring Popplewell, which was apparently published weeks after he was killed.

Screen capture from undated propaganda video released by the Hamas terror group on December 18, 2023 shows (L-R) Amiram Cooper, Chaim Peri, and Yoram Metzger, three Israelis held hostage since October 7 in the Gaza Strip. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Cooper, one of the founders of Nir Oz, was an economist who worked for many years as the chief economist of the Ma’on region settlements. He was also a poet and composer, with several published books of poetry, plays and articles dealing with politics and economics. He is survived by his wife, Nurit, their three children, and nine grandchildren.

Peri, who retired from a military career at age 50, was in later life an art curator, film lecturer, and peace activist who would volunteer to drive sick Palestinian children from the Gaza border to Israeli hospitals. He is survived by his wife, Osnat, five children, and 13 grandchildren.

Metzger worked in the Nirlat paint factory for decades and more recently in the kibbutz garage. He was described by his family as an excellent cook and a lover of history with a great sense of humor, and a dedicated drinker of the Nir Oz winery’s cellar. He is survived by his wife, Tami, three children, and seven grandchildren.

Popplewell, a dual Israeli-UK citizen, was described by his family as a family-oriented guy, devoted to his nieces and nephews, who loved to read science fiction and play bridge with his friends in the kibbutz. He is survived by his sister, Ayelet, and mother, Channah.

Hamas-led terrorists kidnapped 251 people on October 7, including a number of bodies, during their murderous onslaught on southern Israel, during which they killed close to 1,200 people. The IDF has now confirmed the deaths of 41 of the remaining 120 hostages believed to still be held in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is also holding two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015, respectively, as well as the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014.

Earlier Monday, the family of Dolev Yehud, 35, who had been believed to be held hostage in Gaza for the past eight months, was informed that he had been killed on October 7 and that his body had finally been identified after extensive testing on previously unidentified remains found in Kibbutz Nir Oz.

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