The fighting in Gaza, the civilian situation and more

The fighting in Gaza, the civilian situation and more

The Israeli military “failed in its mission” to rescue three hostages who died accidentally, according to a new report.

The Israeli army “failed in its mission” to rescue three hostages shot dead by its troops in Gaza this month, its chief said Thursday, as the army released the results of an investigation.

The results concluded that the Israeli command had information that hostages were in the area and “took steps to prevent attacks on locations suspected of holding hostages.”

But the inquiry also concluded that Israeli forces on the ground did not have “sufficient awareness” of hostages approaching them or the possibility that troops would encounter hostages in operations not specifically aimed at freeing them.

The Israeli military “failed in its mission” to rescue three hostages mistakenly killed by its troops in Gaza this month, its chief said Thursday, as the army released the results of an investigation.

The results concluded that the Israeli command had information that hostages were in the area and “took steps to prevent attacks on locations suspected of holding hostages.”

But the inquiry also concluded that Israeli forces on the ground did not have “sufficient awareness” of hostages approaching them or the possibility that troops would encounter hostages in operations not specifically aimed at freeing them.

Yotham Haim, Alon Shimriz and Samir Talalka were kidnapped by Hamas militants during the October 7 attack on Israel. Three people were killed during an IDF operation around the Shejaya neighborhood of Gaza City on December 15.

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That day, according to the findings, an Israeli soldier shot three hostages “identified as threats,” killing two of them. A third hostage escaped, and the battalion commander ordered him not to shoot to identify the third man.

The commander heard someone shouting “help” in Hebrew and told the man to approach the soldiers; The hostages exited a building and walked toward the troops, the report said. Two soldiers disobeyed the commander's order not to fire “due to the noise of a nearby tank” and shot the third hostage.

The investigation also concluded that “the hostages were walking shirtless, one of them waving a white flag and standing at a point with a limited view of the position of the soldier who fired.”

Israeli Chief of Staff Herzey Halevi said the shooting “could have been avoided” but “there was no treachery in the incident and the soldiers took the correct action based on their best understanding of the event at the time.” .

In the days before the three hostages were killed, Israeli soldiers heard cries for help in Hebrew from a building while battling Hamas gunmen, the report said. According to the report, the players thought it was an attempt to set them up.

A camera mounted on a military dog ​​during the battle also captured the hostages' calls for help. On the same day, a note written in Hebrew was found at the exit of a tunnel, which Israeli soldiers interpreted as an attempt to lure Hamas.

On December 14, Israeli drone footage identified signs reading “SOS” and “Help, 3 hostages” on a building 200 meters from where the three hostages died the next day.

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The report said the Israeli military suspected a trap after blue barrels found nearby, often found in treated areas.

Halevi concluded that the deaths of the hostages should not have occurred and were not justified by the risk of the situation.

“Standard operating procedures are necessary, and they are designed to protect us, so we don't kill our own troops. They establish and influence exceptional decisions, as happened in this case,” he said.

Arzu Daniel

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