Photo Credit: Courtesy the Family
Yotam Haim, who was one of three Israeli hostages in Gaza mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers on Dec. 15, 2023.

By Sveta Listratov

Wanting the soldiers who mistakenly killed her son in Gaza to know that she doesn’t blame them for the tragedy, Iris Haim sent them a message on Wednesday.


“I wanted to tell you that I love you very much and I know that what happened is not your fault, it is the fault of no one except Hamas, may their names and memory will be erased from the earth,” she said in the audio recording which has been distributed on the social media.

Her 28 year-old son, Yotam, along with Alon Shamriz, and Samer Fouad Talalka, had escaped from a building where they were being held captive. They came encountered some Israeli soldiers who erroneously shot and killed them.

“Take care of yourselves, do not hesitate for a moment if you see a terrorist. You need to protect yourself, that’s the only way you can protect us, all the people of Israel,” Iris told the soldiers.

Iris also added that her husband and children were not judging the soldiers and invited them to visit.

“You are welcome to come visit us, we all want to see you with our eyes, and hug you, and say, as painful as it is sad, what you did was probably the right thing for that moment.”

Hamas kidnapped Yotam from Kibbutz Kfar Aza near the Gaza border on October 7. Yotam’s brother, Tuval, told the Tazpit Press Service that the last communication the family received from him that day was a brief video clip capturing the darkness of his safe room and the chilling sound of gunshots outside.

“He wrote us that he loves us, and then, the connection was abruptly cut off,” Tuval told TPS.

Findings of Military Probe
The Israel Defense Forces disclosed on Wednesday that cries for help from the three hostages were recorded by a military dog from the Oketz canine unit.

A probe of the incident found that on December 10, soldiers from a Golani Brigade reconnaissance unit had a sent the dog into a building from where Hamas terrorists had fired on them. A camera attached to the dog recorded the hostages’ cries for help, though they were not seen on camera. The dog was killed by the terrorists. The Golani soldiers later that day killed the terrorists, enabling the Haim, Shamriz and Talalka to escape.

Five days later, the three were found by the soldiers who mistakenly shot them.

According to the probe, the dog-cam feed was not monitored in real-time. The recording surfaced on December 18, when soldiers recovered the body of the dog and its camera.

IDF investigators also reported that the hostages had written on the walls of the building “SOS” and “3 hostages,” but the Golani soldiers believed the writing was a Hamas ruse.

The soldiers had not been given instructions on what to do if they found hostages on the battlefield and there was apparently no intelligence of captives in the vicinity.

Haim, Shamriz and Talalka were all in their twenties.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 129. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.

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TPS - The Tazpit News Agency provides news from Israel.