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Gaza War Live Updates: Israeli Airstrikes Kill Iranian General in Syria

The Israeli military said Monday that four other hostages who were kidnapped in the Hamas attacks on October 7 died months ago in Gaza, a revelation that risks increasing pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin’s government. Netanyahu to move forward with a ceasefire. fire chord.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, an Israeli army spokesman, told a press briefing Monday that the four hostages were believed to have been killed together “several months ago” near Khan Younis, in southern Israel. Gaza, while Israeli forces were operating in Israeli territory. area. The Army identified the men as Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell.

Admiral Hagari said the decision to announce the deaths of the hostages on Monday was based on “additional information, which was recently verified, allowing us to determine today that the four are no longer alive,” adding that he knew that “difficult questions” would be raised. ask about the circumstances of their death. The families of the four people were informed that their bodies were being held by Hamas, and the circumstances of their deaths were “still being investigated”, the Israeli military said.

The Hostage Families Forum, a support group, issued a statement demanding that the Israeli government immediately negotiate a deal for the release of the remaining hostages. He said the four people reported dead on Monday were alive when they were taken from Kibbutz Nirim and Kibbutz Nir Oz, and that there had been “signs of life” in the meantime.

“Their killing in captivity is a mark of shame and a sad reflection on the importance of delaying previous agreements,” the group said.

Pressure on Mr Netanyahu to end the fighting in Gaza has intensified since last week, when President Biden publicly endorsed what he called a proposed three-phase ceasefire presented by Israel. But Mr Netanyahu’s far-right political allies have threatened to bring down his government if Israel reaches a deal ending the war without eliminating Hamas.

On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that President Biden did not present “the whole picture” when he described the proposed ceasefire, according to a person who attended the meeting and requested anonymity to discuss private deliberations. . But the Israeli leader said he was open to a 42-day pause in fighting, the source said, embracing at least part of the first phase of the ceasefire plan.

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

The four hostages announced by Israel on Monday are dead. Clockwise from top left: Haim Peri, Yoram Metzger, Nadav Popplewell and Amiram Cooper.Credit…Take Them Home Now, via Reuters

Hamas said on May 11 that the fourth man, Mr. Popplewell, had died from injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike more than a month earlier and had been unable to receive proper medical care. due to the destruction of hospitals in Gaza by Israel. Earlier in the day, Hamas released an undated video of him in captivity.

The New York Times reported in February that Israeli intelligence had concluded that at least 30 hostages had died since the war began. Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said in March that it believed Israeli military operations in the enclave could have killed more than 70 hostages in total.

Israeli forces shot dead three of the hostages in December while they were flying a makeshift white flag, an incident that shocked Israeli society and renewed outrage at the government for continuing its Gaza offensive instead of negotiating another truce to allow the transfer of other hostages. released.

Another hostage, a grandmother who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, was most likely killed by Israeli fire from a helicopter, the Israeli military said in April.

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