White House national security spokesperson John Kirby called the mistaken killing of three Israeli hostages a “terrible tragedy” Friday.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” Kirby said in an interview with MSNBC.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that the country’s military killed three Israeli hostages in Gaza. The IDF said they were “mistakenly identified … as a threat.”
“The IDF expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences,” the military said. “Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.”
According to multiple media reports, the hostages killed by the Israeli military were holding a white flag and shirtless when shot.
Kirby also said he knew of “no connection between today’s tragic events and impacts on the specific safety and security of any other hostages being held.”
“Obviously, we want them all released,” Kirby said of the hostages held in Gaza by Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“The best safety for them is to get them out now,” Kirby continued. “And Hamas could do that, if they would just do the right thing and release them all, which, obviously, they haven’t proven willing to do.”
Over 18,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. Meanwhile, the Oct.7 attack on Israel by Hamas saw the deaths of about 1,200 people and the taking of around 200 hostages by the group.
Israel also recently agreed to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Egypt’s border to allow more aid into Gaza.
“Before departing Israel, I was informed by my counterpart, Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, that the Government of Israel has taken the decision to open its border crossing at Kerem Shalom for direct delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said in a statement Friday.