IDF accidentally shoots and kills three Israelis held hostage in Gaza

In a tragic incident during combat in Shejaiya, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat, leading to their unintentional killing, as reported by IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari in a news briefing on Friday.

The hostages were identified as Yotam Haim and Alon Shimriz, kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, and Samer Talalka, abducted from Kibbutz Nir Am on the same day. The IDF, upon suspicion during searches, transferred their bodies to Israeli territory for examination, confirming their identities as the kidnapped Israelis.

Hagari stated that the IDF is actively reviewing the incident, suggesting the possibility that the three men had either escaped their captors or were left behind due to the intense fighting in the area. Details about whether they raised their hands or shouted in Hebrew are still under review, and the IDF promises full transparency in disclosing all details.

The incident occurred in an area where IDF troops faced numerous terrorists and engaged in heavy fighting. Attacks included attempts to mislead forces and fire-trap them, along with encounters with “suicide terrorists” who did not carry weapons.

Israel is still gathering facts about the fatal shooting, and lessons concerning the identification of hostages in battle zones have been promptly communicated to all IDF forces across the entire Gaza Strip.

Before the news of the hostages’ deaths, Israel had indicated that 132 hostages were believed to be in Gaza, with 112 presumed to still be alive. More than 100 hostages were released by Hamas last month after a truce that also saw the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners. However, as negotiations broke down, fighting resumed in Gaza, leading to more dangerous, close-quarters operations.