The Israeli military said on Monday that four more hostages who were abducted in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks had died months ago in Gaza, a disclosure that was likely to add pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to move forward with a cease-fire deal.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israeli military, said at a news briefing on Monday that the four hostages were believed to have been killed together “several months ago” near Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, while Israeli forces were operating in the area. The military identified the men as Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell.

Admiral Hagari said the decision to announce the hostages’ deaths on Monday was based on “additional intelligence, which had been verified recently, making it possible to determine today that the four are no longer alive,” adding that he knew “difficult questions” would arise about the circumstances of their deaths. The families of the four had been notified that their bodies were being held by Hamas, and the circumstances of their deaths were “still under examination,” the Israeli military said.

The Hostages Families Forum, a support group, released a statement demanding that the Israeli government immediately negotiate a deal for the remaining hostages to be freed. It said the four who were declared dead on Monday were alive when they were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nirim and Kibbutz Nir Oz, and that there had been “signs of life” in the interim period.

“Their murder in captivity is a mark of disgrace and a sad reflection on the significance of delaying previous deals,” the group said.

The pressure on Mr. Netanyahu to end the fighting in Gaza has grown since last week, when President Biden publicly endorsed what he said was a three-phase cease-fire proposal put forward by Israel. But Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right political allies have threatened to collapse his government if Israel makes any agreement that ends the war without eliminating Hamas.

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

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

The four hostages Israel said on Monday had died. Clockwise from top left: Haim Peri, Yoram Metzger, Nadav Popplewell and Amiram Cooper.Credit…Bring 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 before and that he had not been able to receive proper medical care because of Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s hospitals. Earlier that day, Hamas had released an undated video of him in captivity.

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

Israeli forces shot and killed three of the hostages in December while they were bearing a makeshift white flag, an incident that shocked Israeli society and renewed outrage with the government for continuing its offensive in Gaza instead of negotiating another truce to allow for more hostages to be released.

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



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