“This is an unbearable tragedy and all of Israel is grieving their loss this evening,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israel Defense Forces mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as threats and killed them amid combat in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyya, the Israeli military stated on Friday.
“During searches and checks in the area in which the incident occurred, a suspicion arose over the identities of the deceased,” the IDF stated. “Their bodies were transferred to Israeli territory for examination, after which it was confirmed that they were three Israeli hostages.”
Upon further examination of the bodies, Israel identified the three hostages: Yotam Haim, 28, whom Hamas terrorists kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza; Samer Fouad Talalka, 22, whom Hamas kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Am; and third hostage, whose family asked that his name not be publicized at this time.
“Together with the entire people of Israel, I bow my head in deep sorrow and mourn the death of three of our hostages,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “This is an unbearable tragedy and all of Israel is grieving their loss this evening. My heart goes out to the bereaved families at this difficult time.”
Netanyahu added that Israel’s “courageous soldiers” engage “in the sacred mission of bringing home our hostages, while risking their lives in doing so.”
“Today, on this painful evening, we will dress our wounds, learn the lessons and continue the most important effort of bringing all the hostages home,” he said.
“The IDF began reviewing the incident immediately,” the military said. “The IDF emphasizes that this is an active combat zone in which ongoing fighting over the last few days has occurred. Immediate lessons from the event have been learned, which have been passed on to all IDF troops in the field.”
The Israeli military “expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences,” it added. “Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.”