Hostages killed by mistake in Gaza | Israeli soldiers heard cries for help 5 days before

(Jerusalem) Israeli soldiers were in the same building as three hostages shot by mistake in Gaza and had heard their cries for help in Hebrew five days before the events, according to the conclusions of an army investigation published Thursday.

On December 10, storming a building, soldiers heard these calls, “hostages” and “help!” » shouted in Hebrew. But they believed it was a stratagem by Hamas fighters to set a trap for them in this building located in Choujaiya, in the east of Gaza City.

Thinking this building was trapped by explosives, the soldiers got out. Five Hamas fighters who were guarding the hostages were then killed by Israeli helicopter fire while trying to escape the building, the investigation revealed.

The hostages then “probably” fled the building, according to investigations.

Five days later, Israeli soldiers shot them, after “identifying them as threats.” Two were killed instantly. The third fled and according to the investigation, the soldiers were then ordered not to shoot in order to identify him.

The battalion commander, hearing cries in Hebrew, “Help!” ” and “They’re shooting at me!” “, asked the surviving hostage to advance towards them, telling his troops not to shoot.

But two soldiers, “who did not hear the order because of the noise of a nearby tank,” shot him dead.

The three hostages were shirtless and brandished a white flag.

The day before the incident, on December 14, an army drone had identified inscriptions on a building 200 meters from where the three hostages were killed: “SOS” and “help, three hostages.”

“The army failed in its mission to rescue the hostages,” Israeli army chief of staff General Herzi Halevi said in a statement. The shooting of the three hostages “could have been avoided,” he added.

The head of government, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he regretted “an unbearable tragedy”, plunging “the entire State of Israel into mourning”.

The victims are Yotam Haïm, a 28-year-old heavy metal drummer, and Samer al-Talalqa, a 25-year-old Bedouin, both kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Am during the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel on 7 october.

The third hostage killed was Alon Lulu Shamriz, 26, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Some 250 people were taken hostage during the Hamas attack. To date, 129 are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

source site-59