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Father of San Diego man held hostage in Gaza confirmed dead, as Israel announces four more Hamas casualties

The Israeli military has confirmed the deaths of four more hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack on a music festival.

Nadav Popplewell, 51, Yoram Metzger, 80, Amiram Cooper, 84, and Chaim Peri, 79, all died several months ago while being held by Hamas in the Khan Younis area, a reported the Times of Israel.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the four men died together when Israeli defense forces were operating in Khan Younis earlier this year, although he did not give a definitive cause of death.

“We are checking all options,” Hagari said. “There are a lot of questions.”

Hamas claimed in May that Popplewell died following an airstrike, but has yet to provide evidence, PBS reported. Months earlier, the Al-Qassam Brigades terrorist organization claimed that Peri, Cooper and Metzger were among seven hostages killed in an Israeli airstrike, NBC reported.

Amiram Cooper, 80 years old

Haïm Peri, 79 years old

Amiram Cooper, left, and Chaim Peri, right, were from the same kibbutz just a kilometer from Gaza.

Yoram Metzger, 80 years old

Nadav Popplewell, 51 years old

Yoram Metzger, 80, and Nadav Popplewell, 51, were among hundreds of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

Amiram Cooper has a son named Rotem who lives in San Diego. As the attacks in Israel unfolded, Rotem discovered that his father and mother Nurit, 79, had been kidnapped by Hamas.

Amiram and Nurit had called Nir Oz, a kibbutz about a mile from Gaza, their home for seven decades, being among the first to settle there, ABC San Diego reported last October.

Rotem added that his parents told him they had locked themselves in an air-raid shelter at home.

“They told me they locked themselves in this room, but there was no way to lock the door,” he said.

Shortly after, he couldn’t reach his parents, so he flew to Israel as soon as he could and arrived three days later.

Amiram Cooper (second from right) and Nurit Cooper (red shirt) are pictured with their family

Amiram Cooper (second from right) and Nurit Cooper (red shirt) are pictured with their family

Amiram is pictured with his grandson

Amiram is pictured with his grandson

Amiram and Nurit are shown together.  The couple were kidnapped from their home in Nir Oz, a kibbutz just outside Gaza.

Amiram and Nurit are shown together. The couple were kidnapped from their home in Nir Oz, a kibbutz just outside Gaza.

Rotem found bullet holes in the door leading to his parents’ air raid shelter but no blood stains, which gave him hope that they were still alive.

Amiram and Nurit were held in the same underground room with five other kibbutz residents, Rotem told The Times of Israel.

Nurit was released on October 23 and is still recovering at home with her family.

Metzger, Cooper and Peri, all aged nearly 80 or older, were featured in a Hamas propaganda video in December in which they are heard imploring Israel: “Let’s not let us grow old here. »

Peri, a resident of Nir Oz with Cooper and his wife Nurit, explained in the video that he was held with other elderly hostages suffering from chronic illnesses and that all were living in very difficult conditions.

Amiram and Nurit pictured with their son, Rotem, sitting next to his father

Amiram and Nurit pictured with their son, Rotem, sitting next to his father

Popplewell, a British Israeli, is seen in a Hamas terrorist video.  Hamas confirmed he died just hours after the 11-second clip was released

Popplewell, a British Israeli, is seen in a Hamas terrorist video. Hamas confirmed he died just hours after the 11-second clip was released

“You have to free us from here. No matter the cost. We do not want to be direct victims of IDF military airstrikes. Release us unconditionally. Don’t let us grow old here,” Peri said in Hebrew.

Popplewell, Hamas’ fourth victim, was a British-Israeli citizen who also featured in a Hamas propaganda video released in early May.

Just three hours after the chilling 11-second clip of Popplewell, badly bruised but alive, was released, Hamas confirmed he was dead.

Of the approximately 130 Israeli hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip, about 85 are believed to be still alive, PBS reported.

The new information comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected President Joe Biden’s ceasefire deal, pledging to continue the war that has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians.

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