Israel says 3 hostages bore white flag before being killed by troops – Times of India

Israel says 3 hostages bore white flag before being killed by troops - Times of India

Jerusalem: The Israeli army On Saturday, it was said that the Israelis accidentally killed three hostages. The armies They were shirtless, unarmed and temporary in white. flag. The disturbing details of their deaths have sparked widespread outrage and prompted renewed calls for a pause in the fighting to allow more hostages to be freed.
The army, which admitted the killings violated its rules of engagement, announced the killings on Friday hours after it said it had recovered the bodies of three other Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. are
Israeli military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Saturday that the three hostages “did everything to make us understand” that they were harmless, including to show that they had no explosives.
“The shooting of the hostages was done in violation of open fire regulations,” he said. “It is forbidden to shoot at those who raise the white flag and try to surrender.”
As the death toll of Palestinians killed in the 70-day war has reached nearly 20,000, according to Gaza health officials, the shooting by Israeli hostages underscored the continuing threat to more than 120 people. Isra Yale say they are still imprisoned and have raised questions about Israel’s prosecution of the war.
Some of the families of hostages in the shooting urged the government to make the release of the captives its top priority.
Itzek Horn, whose children Eitan, 37, and Yair, 45, were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz, said the deaths reinforced his belief that Israel must immediately release all captives. A deal must be reached, even if it means freeing Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Jail for terrorism
“Let them release all the Palestinian prisoners we have here, all the terrorists – what do I care,” Horn said in an interview. “The most important thing is not to defeat Hamas. The only victory here is to bring back all the hostages.
As Israelis took to the streets to demand the return of the hostages, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy service, David Barnia, met with Qatari officials in Europe on Friday to discuss a renewed pause in the fighting and the possibility of further Israeli hostage exchanges. can go. And the Palestinian prisoner meeting was planned before the hostages were killed.
Citing the results of a preliminary investigation, the Israeli military said on Saturday that its troops were operating in Shijaiya, an area of ​​Gaza City where heavy fighting had taken place. Soldiers said the troops were on alert for attempts by Hamas to attack Israeli forces, possibly in civilian clothes.
The three hostages emerged from a building tens of yards away from Israeli soldiers shirtless, carrying a white cloth cane, the army said. A soldier, believing the men to be in danger, opened fire, killing two of them and injuring a third, a preliminary investigation found.
A third hostage fled into the building, where they were heard shouting for help in Hebrew, the military said. The battalion commander ordered the forces to cease fire. But the wounded hostage later resurfaced, after which he was shot dead, the military statement said.
An Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity under military protocol, said the hostages may have escaped or been abandoned by their captors.
The three men killed – identified by the military as Yotham Haim, Elon Shamriz and Samar Talalka – were abducted on October 7 from two kibbutzim in southern Israel near the Gaza border.
The Forum of Hostages and Missing Families, which represents those abducted on Oct. 7 and their relatives, said Talalka, who is from Israel’s Bedouin minority, was working at a chicken hatchery when he was abducted. went. Haim was a drummer set to perform at a heavy metal music festival in Tel Aviv on the night of the Hamas attacks. Shamriz was about to start college courses in computer engineering.
Talalka’s months of imprisonment and sudden killing were “like a bad dream that I keep trying to wake up from,” his cousin, Alaa Talalka, said in an interview Saturday.
On Friday, the family was celebrating Samir Talalka’s mother’s birthday, a small point of light amid the crisis caused by her abduction. Then came the news that he was shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza.
“He was very sociable and friendly; he liked to laugh and make people happy,” said Alaa Talalka, 37, a psychologist in the Arab town of Hoora in the southern Negev desert. “I can’t understand what happened.”
As Israelis mourned his death on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said news of his death “broke my heart.” He added: “He broke the heart of the entire country. Our hearts go out to their families at this time of deep mourning.”
But he stressed: “In this difficult time, it is important for me to stand by our soldiers. They are giving their lives to win a decisive victory over our enemies and return our hostages. The soldiers are doing – and will continue to do – everything to protect the lives of each and every one of them.”
The Israeli military was criticized globally for what President Joe Biden described as indiscriminate bombing last week. In the 10-week war, Israel has hit more than 22,000 targets in the Gaza Strip, a barrage that has killed thousands of civilians, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month calling Gaza a “children’s graveyard.” forced to
Palestinians and critics of how Israel is fighting Gaza have called Friday’s shooting a small example of the Israeli military’s neglect of civilians in Gaza.
Human Rights Watch program director Sari Bashi said that people are considered civilians under the laws of war. “It takes strong information to suggest that they’re not before you kill them.”
In this case, he said, “no one batted an eye before they were killed.” He added that the investigation took place only because the men were Israelis.
Akram Attaullah, a columnist for al-Ayyam, a Palestinian newspaper in the West Bank, said the incident was “a condemnation of the Israeli military” and showed that Israeli forces are fighting a war with little regard for civilian life.
Ataullah, who is from Gaza, said that Israel also kills those who surrender and raise the white flag.
Israel says it tries to limit civilian casualties and blames Hamas for most of the killings in Gaza, which it says are in urban areas as well as schools, mosques and hospitals. Military installations.
The Israeli military has said that about 20 percent of Israeli soldiers killed in the war have been killed in airstrikes, shelling, shootings and accidents by its own forces, many of which have been mistakenly identified. As of Saturday, 119 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza.
Yigal Levi, an expert on civil-military relations at Israel’s Open University, called the 20 percent rate of so-called friendly fire errors “unprecedented” for the Israeli military.
According to the New York-based non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists, 135 UN staff members and 64 journalists and news media workers have also been killed in the fighting.

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