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Killing of hostages in Gaza Strip: Details of the tragedy

Killing of hostages in Gaza Strip: Details of the tragedy Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) disclosed details of yesterday's tragic incident in the Gaza Strip, in which three Israeli hostages who managed to escape from Hamas captivity were shot by military personnel, according to The Times of Israel.

According to a senior officer from the Southern Command, citing a preliminary investigation, the incident began when a soldier inside a building noticed three suspicious figures exiting the building several dozen meters away from him.

All three were shirtless, and one of them was carrying a stick with an improvised white flag. The soldier decided that the people moving towards him were an attempt by Hamas to lure IDF soldiers into a trap, immediately opened fire, and shouted "terrorists!" to alert other soldiers.

According to the investigation, the soldier killed two of them, and the third, who was wounded, took cover in the building he had exited. At that moment, the battalion commander, who was also in the building from which the soldier was firing, went outside and ordered the soldiers to cease fire.

Meanwhile, soldiers in the area heard someone yelling "Help" in Hebrew. A moment later, the third man emerged from the building he had fled to, and another soldier opened fire, killing him.

The battalion commander realized that the appearance of the third man was unusual, and it turned out to be an Israeli hostage. All three bodies were taken and brought to Israel for identification.

According to the officer, the soldier who immediately opened fire, recognizing the three men, acted against protocol, as did the second soldier who killed the third man. However, the IDF stated that they understood what prompted the soldiers to act this way.

The senior officer stated that the IDF has not identified any Palestinian civilians in recent days. According to the officer, in the past few days, the military has killed at least 38 Palestinian terrorists. The only people seen in civilian clothing were Hamas militants, often unarmed. The militants gather weapons left in various buildings, open fire on the military, and then flee unarmed to another building.

Immediately after the incident, the IDF sent new protocols to ground forces in case hostages manage to escape captivity. The scenario where hostages roam in a combat zone was not previously considered by the IDF.

War between Israel and Hamas

In early October, Hamas militants launched an invasion into Israel. Shortly afterward, the Israel Defense Forces initiated Operation Iron Swords.

On November 24, a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas began to facilitate the release of hostages. Additionally, the parties agreed to a four-day cessation of hostilities, and it was successfully extended for another two days, contingent on the release of most hostages.

On December 1, Israel resumed military operations in the Gaza Strip. The country's Ministry of Defense stated that Hamas militants had violated the terms of the ceasefire.

Killing of hostages

Yesterday, it became known that Israeli forces mistakenly identified three hostages held by Hamas as a threat during the fighting in Shejaiya in northern Gaza. Subsequently, soldiers shot and killed them.