Spokesperson of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Daniel Hagari announced on Friday night that during battles in northern Gaza in the morning, Israeli troops mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat and killed them.
In his daily briefing about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, Hagari named the hostages as Yotam Haim, who was abducted by Hamas from kibbutz Kfar Aza, and Samar Talalka, who was abducted from kibbutz Nir Am. The third hostage was not named following requests by their family.
“After the shooting, an immediate suspicion arose regarding the identity of the dead, and their bodies were quickly transferred for examination in Israel, where the hostages were identified,” he said.
“This is a sad and painful event for all of us, and the IDF bears responsibility for everything that happened,” he added.
In response to an inquiry regarding how the hostages were able to escape Hamas captivity, Hagari said the military believed that the three fled or were abandoned by the Hamas militants who held them captive.
He explained that in some cases, there were suicide bombers and attacks in which the Palestinian militants “tried to lure our forces and draw them into an ambush.”
“The IDF expresses deep sorrow for the disaster and shares in the grief of the families,” the spokesperson added.