Photo Credit: Pixabay / Nason Rathbone

The nation of Israel is mourning a terrible tragedy that took place Friday during combat in the terrorist-invested Shuja’iyya section of Gaza City.


“The IDF mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Friday night during the daily briefing. “As a result, the troops fired toward them and they were killed.”

The three Israelis were yelling “Help!” in Hebrew while holding up a white flag, and were fired upon against Israel’s rules of engagement, according to Saturday’s initial findings of the investigation into the incident, an Israeli military official said.

Investigators found that the three hostages were standing near a building with the words “help” and “SOS” spraypainted on its exterior walls. The phrase “three hostages – help” was also seen on a building two days before the tragedy occurred, according to the probe, Israeli media reported.

Particularly in the area of Shuja’iyya, Hamas terrorists often operate in civilian attire and use deception to lure Israeli forces into firing range.

Hamas Used ‘Crying Dolls’ in Attempt to Ambush IDF Soldiers in Gaza

In a separate event, Hamas terrorists attempted to ambush IDF soldiers by using dolls and children’s backpacks with speakers playing sounds of crying, placed intentionally near a tunnel shaft connecting to a large tunnel network leading to multiple civilian buildings, including one containing a Hamas command center equipped with cameras that were monitoring IDF troops.

Nevertheless, “This is a sad and painful event for all of us, and the IDF bears responsibility for everything that happened,” Hagari said. “The IDF expresses deep sorrow regarding this disaster and shares in the grief of the families.”

According to a statement by the IDF, during searches and checks in the area in which the incident occurred, “a suspicion arose over the identities of the deceased. Their bodies were transferred to Israeli territory for examination, after which it was confirmed that they were three Israeli hostages.”

The bodies of the slain hostages were taken to the “Hatzvi” Center at the Shura Camp for further examination, where they were identified.

The three fallen hostages were:
* Yotam Haim, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th.
* Samer Talalka, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Am by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th.
* Alon Shamriz, was kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th.

IDF and Israel Police representatives notified all of the families, and the IDF began reviewing the incident immediately.

“We started investigating the incident immediately. This is a tragic incident, which took place in a combat zone where soldiers encountered many terrorists and fought hard battles in the last days, including today,” Hagari noted.

“In some cases, they also encountered suicide-bombing terrorists without weapons as well as experiencing attacks in which terrorists tried to mislead IDF soldiers and draw them into a trap.

“Shortly after the tragic incident, another encounter with terrorists took place near the scene of the incident,” he said.

“We are in the stage of collecting the facts and ascertaining the details of the incident. Lessons taken from this incident, particularly key emphases for identifying hostages in combat zones were immediately transferred to all IDF soldiers operating throughout the Gaza Strip, in order to do everything to prevent another tragedy like this,” Hagari emphasized.


Previous articleThe Chanukah Seuda – Parshat Miketz
Next articleHamas Used ‘Crying Dolls’ in Attempt to Ambush IDF Soldiers in Gaza
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.