80 Israeli hostages still alive in Gaza

A total of 43 Israelis who were abducted by Hamas on October 7 have been declared dead in absentia, according to official estimates

Some 80 Israeli hostages remain in captivity in Gaza after 43 were declared dead in absentia on Tuesday, according to an updated official tally released by Israel.

Four more hostages had been added to the list of fatalities the day before, with Chaim Peri, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper and Nadav Popplewell believed to have been killed in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis “a number of months” ago, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The four hostages perished while the country’s military was operating in the city, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari admitted.

“We are thoroughly examining the circumstances of their deaths and checking all possibilities. We will soon present the findings, first to their families, and then to the public. We will present them with transparency, as we have done until now,” he added.

All four men had previously appeared in hostage videos released by Hamas. At least one of them, Popplewell, succumbed to wounds sustained during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, according to the Palestinian militant group.

Nearly 80 hostages are still presumed to be alive in captivity after 43 others were pronounced dead in absentia. Anonymous Israeli government officials, however, have told various media outlets that the figure is likely significantly lower and more hostages have died.

Over 100 hostages have been freed since the beginning of the recent hostilities. Only a handful of these were rescued as the result of military action, while most of the captives were released during a prisoner swap with Hamas in November during a weeklong ceasefire.

Securing the release of all the hostages taken by Hamas during the initial attack on southern Israel on October 7 has been one of the main goals of the war on Hamas launched by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Since the eight-month conflict, the apparent inability to actually get the hostages out of Gaza has continuously been criticized by Netanyahu’s critics, with the relatives of abducted Israelis repeatedly staging mass protests calling for government action.