More than a third of Gaza hostages are dead – Israel

Israel believes more than a third of the remaining Gaza hostages are dead, according to a government tally released on Tuesday, the 4th of June, while the US is trying to speed up the retrieval of hostages under an Israeli proposal to end the war with Hamas.

Hamas took some 250 people to the Gaza Strip during the 7th of October attack that started the war, dozens of whom were freed during the November ceasefire and others, dead or alive, have been recovered by Israeli troops.

The government’s tally, based on various sources including intelligence reports, CCTV or eyewitness video and forensic analysis, said that

Hamas threatened to kill hostages early in the war in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes, but the group has since claimed that it was Israeli attacks that caused the hostages’ deaths. Israel has not ruled this out, but has indicated that some of the bodies of hostages found show signs of execution.

On Monday, four more hostages were added to the Israeli causalities list.

The four men were identified as Chaim Peri, 80; Yoram Metzger, 80; Amiram Cooper, 84; and Nadav Popplewell, 51. All four were filmed alive in hostage videos published by Hamas six months ago.

Hamas said that Popplewell died of injuries sustained during an Israeli air strike.

The military believes that all four were killed together in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis “several months ago”, when Israeli forces were operating in the town.

Perri was attacked at his home in Kibbutz Nir Oz and eventually sacrificed himself to rescue his wife, who was in hiding. Cooper and Metzger were also captured in Kibbutz Nir Oz with their wives, both of whom were returned to Israel during the November ceasefire. Popplewell was captured in Kibbutz Nirim with his mother from her home. His brother was killed in the attack and his mother was released during the November ceasefire, according to the hostage support group.

under which some hostages would be released during a temporary ceasefire.

But mediation efforts to reach this agreement have stalled, with Israel insisting it ultimately wants to resume its campaign to destroy Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamist group demanding a guaranteed end to the war and the withdrawal of all invading forces.

The 7th of October attack by Hamas on southern Israeli communities resulted in the killing of some 1 200 people and the capture of more than 250 hostages. More than 36 000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza.

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