3 Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by the IDF were shirtless and holding a white flag, military official says

  • Three Israeli hostages who were mistakenly killed by the IDF were waving a white flag, a military official said.

  • One of the hostages, aged 25, was mourned by around 300 people at his funeral.

  • More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza.

Three Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza were holding up a white flag, Reuters reported.

The killings happened in Shejaiya, a war-torn area in Gaza City where Hamas militants often attempt to blend in with civilians, a military official reportedly said.

An initial inquiry into the incident said that an IDF soldier perceived a threat when the hostages emerged tens of meters away from Israeli troops, shirtless and carrying a stick with a white cloth.

“They’re all without shirts and they have a stick with a white cloth on it. The soldier feels threatened and opens fire. He declares that they’re terrorists. They (the Israeli forces) open fire. Two (hostages) are killed immediately,” the official told reporters, per Reuters.

The victims were identified as Yotam Haim and Alon Shamriz who were taken from Kibbutz Kfar Aza during Hamas’ October 7 attacks, and Samer Al-Talalka, who had been abducted from Kibbutz Nir Am.

In a statement addressing the news, the IDF said it expressed “deep remorse over the incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences.”

Al-Talalka, 25, was mourned by around 300 people at his funeral in Hura, southern Israel.

Alaa Al-Talalka, a cousin of his, said: “We’re not going to start pointing fingers, who is guilty and who is not. It is just not the time. The families are thinking only of how to bring the hostages back alive. This is the time to ask for the war to end.”

Over 100 hostages are still in Gaza, with Israeli calls for Red Cross access going unheeded.

Ruby Chen, the father of a captive, expressed the uncertainty families faced each day, likening it to “Russian roulette.”

“Israel’s government needs to get a grip and bring back the hostages,” he said.

In November, Hamas released more than 100 hostages following negotiations.

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