Israeli forces shot and killed three hostages who had been taken by Hamas after mistakenly identifying them “as a threat,” the Israel Defense Forces said Friday.
“The IDF expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences. Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home,” the Israeli military said.
A spokesperson for the IDF said the hostages had either escaped Hamas captivity “or were abandoned by the terrorists who held them captive,” The Times of Israel reported.
Two of the victims were identified as Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka, and Alon Shamriz. All three were taken by Hamas from kibbutzim during the Oct. 7 attack.
Anger from families toward Netanyahu has grown
This incident threatens to further heighten tensions between hostages’ families and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Families of abductees began protesting in Tel Aviv shortly after the news broke, according to Israeli television network Channel 12, which reported earlier on Friday that the families are considering a hunger strike to protest Netanyahu not striking a deal to bring their loved ones home. “It proves again that IDF actions do not help us, but only leads to the return of more bodies,” said one woman whose brother is being held hostage.
IDF to exercise ‘caution,’ as tunnel flooding begins
The IDF says many of the forces attacking Israeli soldiers during the operation in Gaza have been wearing civilian clothes. A spokesperson told CNN that the IDF will now “exercise additional caution” when encountering people in civilian clothes. It comes as Israel has reportedly begun flooding the tunnels under Gaza with seawater, looking to draw Hamas — and possibly more hostages — above ground.
That operation has been deemed an early success by the IDF, The Times of Israel reported. Asked about the possible impact on hostages, the IDF said it has intelligence on where those being held are located.