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Israeli military chief takes responsibility for killing 3 hostages in Gaza

December 17, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Herzi Halevi (4th L) visits the 140th Squadron at Nevatim airbase, where the F-35 “Adir” fighter jets are based in Be’er Sheva, Israel on November 06, 2023. [Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi took responsibility Saturday for ‘mistakenly’ killing three Israeli hostages by Israeli soldiers, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The IDF (Israeli army) and I, as its commander, are responsible for what happened,” Halevi said in a video statement, referring to the three hostages who were raising a white flag in the besieged Gaza Strip when they were killed.

He pointed out that during intense clashes in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza, Palestinian militants were able to approach Israeli soldiers in civilian clothes for days.

“A split-second decision could be a life-or-death decision,” he said.

“There is nothing that the IDF soldiers and their commanders in the Gaza Strip want more than to rescue hostages alive. We did not succeed in this case. We feel the deep sorrow of the families for the deaths of the hostages,” he said.

WATCH: 3 hostages shot by Israeli forces were ‘shirtless’ and ‘holding makeshift white flag’

“I think the three hostages did everything possible so that we would understand – they moved around shirtless so that we wouldn’t suspect them of carrying explosives and they held a white cloth — but the tension overcame all of the above,” he added.

Halevi argued that the military could see how complex the situation was in the Gaza conflict. “There may be additional cases in which hostages escape or are abandoned during the fighting, and we have the duty and responsibility to rescue them alive.”

– Israeli military announced it ‘mistakenly’ killed 3 captives

“During combat in Shejaiya, the IDF mistakenly identified 3 Israeli hostages as a threat and as a result, fired toward them and the hostages were killed,” the Israeli army described the incident in a statement Friday.

It mentioned doubts about the identities of the deceased in the area where the deaths occurred and said searches and checks revealed suspicions.

The army said the bodies were transferred to Israel for examination and after a detailed investigation, it was confirmed that they were Yotam Haim and Samar Talalka and Alon Shamriz.

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