Israeli hostages shot dead by IDF troops in Gaza were holding up WHITE FLAG and stripped to the waist when they were mistaken for Hamas terrorists

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Written By Maya Cantina

Three Israeli hostages shot dead by IDF troops had been holding up a white flag on a stick and were shirtless when they were mistaken for Hamas terrorists, a military official has revealed.

The incident, which has sparked fury on the streets of Israel, happened in an area of intense combat in Gaza where Hamas operate in civilian attire and use deception tactics, the official said. 

The hostages were fired upon against Israel’s rules of engagement, the official added.

The Israeli military said Yotam Haim, 28, Alon Shamriz, 26, and Samer El-Talalka, 22, were shot during operations in Gaza City.

A soldier saw the hostages emerging tens of meters from Israeli forces in the area of Shejaiya.

Three Israeli hostages killed mistakenly in Gaza by Israeli forces had been holding up a white flag. Left to right: Alon Shamriz, Samer El-Talalka and Yotam Haim

Israeli soldiers are pictured in the Gaza Strip as the war rages on between Israel and Hamas

Israeli soldiers are pictured in the Gaza Strip as the war rages on between Israel and Hamas 

The death of the three hostages sparked anger in Israel, with protesters marching last night to share their anguish and fury. Pictured: Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv

The death of the three hostages sparked anger in Israel, with protesters marching last night to share their anguish and fury. Pictured: Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv

‘They’re all without shirts and they have a stick with a white cloth on it. The soldier feels threatened and opens fire. He declares that they’re terrorists, they (forces) open fire, two are killed immediately,’ said the military official.

The third hostage was wounded and retreated into a nearby building where he called for help in Hebrew.

‘Immediately the battalion commander issues a ceasefire order, but again there’s another burst of fire towards the third figure and he also dies,’ said the official. ‘This was against our rules of engagement,’ he added.

The three hostages were among about 250 people snatched during Hamas’s October 7 attacks in Israel, which killed around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and bring back the hostages, Israel launched a massive military offensive against the Palestinian Islamist movement that has left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins. 

The Hamas-run territory’s health ministry says the war has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children.

Army spokesman Daniel Hagari said yesterday that during fighting in Shejaiya district of Gaza City, troops ‘mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat and as a result, fired toward them and the hostages were killed’.

The military said later it had started ‘reviewing the incident’ and that ‘immediate lessons from the event have been learned’ and passed on to all troops on the ground.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described their deaths as an ‘unbearable tragedy’.

An Israeli flag is covered in red paint as relatives of hostages held by Hamas demonstrate outside the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv on December 15

An Israeli flag is covered in red paint as relatives of hostages held by Hamas demonstrate outside the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv on December 15

People hold signs as they protest following an announcement by Israel's military that they had mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 15, 2023

People hold signs as they protest following an announcement by Israel’s military that they had mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 15, 2023

People use bullhorns as they march through Tel Aviv following the news that three Israeli hostages have been killed

People use bullhorns as they march through Tel Aviv following the news that three Israeli hostages have been killed

The death of the three hostages sparked anger in Israel, with protesters marching last night to share their anguish and fury.

Scenes from Tel Aviv showed crowds of people, many themselves the families of people kidnapped by Hamas, taking to the streets with banners to mourn and call for the return of Israelis trapped in Gaza.

Protesters held signs calling for an immediate hostage exchange, showed pictures of loved ones now missing for nearly ten weeks while an Israeli flag coated in red paint was left outside the ministry of defence.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the defence ministry, including Merav Svirsky, sister of Hamas-held hostage Itay Svirsky, who said: ‘I am dying of fear. We demand a deal now.’

It comes amid growing international concern about the Israeli operation in the region. 

The offensive has flattened much of northern Gaza and driven 85 per cent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes. 

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have gathered again across the UK this weekend to call for an end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

In north London, about 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Camden to call for a ceasefire, with some shouting ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free’. 

This is a breaking news story. More to follow. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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