soldiers heard cries for help, army investigation finds

The three Israeli hostages emerged shirtless and brandishing a white flag, but soldiers believed it was a Hamas trap, according to the army’s conclusions.


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An Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip, December 22, 2023. (ISRAELI ARMY / AFP)

A distrust that proved fatal. Israeli soldiers heard cries for help from three hostages held by Hamas in Gaza who were shot dead “by mistake” on December 15, according to the conclusions of an army investigation published Thursday, December 28.

During their assault on a building on December 10, soldiers heard screams of “hostages” And “Help !” in Hebrew, says the army. 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 move away from the building, the investigation details. The hostages then “probably” fled the building, according to investigations.

Deaths that “could have been avoided”

On December 14, an army drone identified inscriptions on a building 200 meters from where the three hostages were killed: “SOS” And “help, three hostages“. The next day, the three hostages came out of a building shirtless and waving a white flag, but Israeli soldiers took them away. “identified as threats” and fired, killing two of them instantly.

According to the army’s findings, the battalion commander on the scene ordered his troops not to shoot, and ordered the surviving hostage to advance towards the soldiers. But two of them, “who did not hear the order because of the noise of a nearby tank”shot the hostage.

“The army failed in its mission to rescue the hostages”, indicated in a statement the chief of staff of the Israeli army, General Herzi Halevi. The shooting of the three hostages “could have been avoided”, added the manager. The head of government, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he regretted “an unbearable tragedy” who dives “the entire State of Israel in mourning”. Of the nearly 250 people taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attack, 129 are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

source site-29