Israel has announced that four of the hostages being held by Hamas have been declared dead. Nadav Popplewell, Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger, and Haim Peri were all taken hostage by Hamas on October 7th. Three of the hostages, Peri, Cooper, and Metzger, were featured in one of the Hamas propaganda videos released in December. 

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In March, Hamas claimed the three had been killed by Israeli forces in Khan Yunis.  

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari states that intelligence was only now able to confirm the deaths. 

“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 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.”

Three of the murdered hostages have female family members who were also taken hostage but were released as part of the initial hostage deal. Cooper’s wife, Nurit, Metzger’s wife, Tami, and Popplewell’s mother, Channah Peri, were all released during the deal that secured some women and children. 

Concerns are arising around the number of actual living hostages left. Some wonder if Hamas has not agreed to a hostage deal because it does not have many hostages left who are still alive. At least 41 hostages have been confirmed to have died in captivity.

Notably, the last hostage deal broke apart over the terror group’s unwillingness to return Shiri Bibas and her two small boys, Ariel, age 4, and Kfir, eight months old at the time of the kidnapping. Hamas claims the family is dead, but the IDF has been hesitant to accept this without proof. It could be that Hamas simply wants to hold onto the last children and the youngest as valuable bargaining chips. It would be very unwise of Hamas to have let anything happen to such a valuable asset, but Hamas hasn’t exactly been making wise choices.

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The news of the confirmed deaths of the four older hostages is disheartening and makes us wonder if Hamas was telling the truth about Shiri and her babies. Hamas hardly ever tells the truth, and when it does, it’s a half-truth or a misconstrued fact. In this case, the best-case scenario is that Hamas is the liar we know they are. 

Pressure has been mounting on the Israeli government, and especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to make a hostage deal. Some want that deal at any cost. The prime minister, rightfully so, has stood firm that he cannot grant that request. 

With the advancements on Rafah, the end is near in this conflict. Perhaps that is why Biden recently announced a new deal on the table that would end the war. The details surrounding the announcement were murky at best. Israel was observing the Sabbath when the announcement was made on their behalf and was unable to respond immediately when many questions and concerns were raised. When the prime minister responded, he clarified that “his” deal would not sacrifice the war objectives, the dismantling of Hamas being non-negotiable. 


Related: BREAKING: Is Israel Relenting? Biden Announces New Deal


The first hostage deal was almost miraculous. It gave us hope that this could end the same way – the country of Israel all standing still watching the planes land, families waiting in airport and hospital hallways, and emotional embraces of the returned loved ones. But that miracle was only made possible by the IDF’s controversial military pressure. Realistically, we knew that it would likely end this way for many hostages caught in the crossfire of an unjust conflict.

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Hamas bears responsibility for the deaths of the hostages as well as those viciously murdered on October 7th. They hold the responsibility for every dead civilian in Gaza. But we hold the responsibility for the history pages and the stories that will be told. Israel didn’t ask for this war and didn’t deserve it. We must not only stand by their side, but also stand by the side of truth. 


Related: Why The World Still Can’t Understand The Rafah Situation