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Carmel Valley man's parents believed kidnapped during Hamas attacks

Carmel Valley man's parents believed kidnapped during Hamas attacks
Posted at 5:11 PM, Oct 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-23 19:22:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Carmel Valley man is in Israel, searching for news about his elderly parents, believed kidnapped during the Hamas attacks.

“These are my parents, Amiram and Nurit Cooper,” said Rotem Cooper.

As he holds up a flyer, his emotions become hard to contain.

“The level of cruelty it's not something we can process. You just can’t comprehend it,” said Cooper.

As the Hamas attacks were unfolding, he was calling and messaging his parents. Amiram, 84, and Nurit, 79. Both are longtime residents of Nir Oz, a kibbutz about a mile outside Gaza. The two were among the first settlers in the kibbutz nearly seven decades ago.

They had heard reports of militants going house to house, and were holed up in their in-home bomb shelter.

“They told me they basically closed themselves in that room, but there is no way to lock the door,” said Cooper.

Not long after, his parents stopped returning messages from family.

Cooper arrived in Israel a few days later.

Video shot by a family member allowed to enter what is now a military zone, shows the burned cars, along with vandalized and burned out homes in the kibbutz.

At the home of Cooper's parents, there were some grim clues: bullet holes on the outside of the home, in the window of the bomb shelter.

Inside, there were bullet holes in the bomb shelter door

"I think about the terror they must have felt, as they were being pulled out,” said Cooper.

Amid the horrifying evidence, Cooper focuses on one detail.

“We did not see blood stains,” said Cooper.

The lack of blood, and some phone tracking data, point to the couple being kidnapped.

Cooper says in total, in a kibbutz of about 350 residents, some 80 are missing, many of them seniors and young children. At least 20 others died during the attacks.

As Cooper waits for word, he has formed a group on social media to gather medications needed for the kidnap victims.

“If negotiation is going to take long, they might not survive if they don’t get their medicines,” said Cooper.

As the war escalates, he worries about what that will mean for the fate of the hostages. He’ll be staying in Israel, and he’s trying to stay optimistic.

“I’m hopeful. I have no choice. I’m not going to give up,” said Cooper.

Cooper is hoping to find sightings of his parents in videos posted on media and social media. Tips can be submitted to