'Bow my head in deep sorrow': Netanyahu, as army mistakenly kills 3 Israeli hostages in Gaza

Israeli troops erroneously identified the hostages as a threat, the army said

israel-hostage-protest-reuters People protest after Israel's military announced that they had mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel | Reuters

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep sorrow” and mourned the death of three Israeli hostages during the army's ground operation against the Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Army chief spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, on Friday, said Israeli troops found the hostages and “erroneously” identified them as a threat. He said it was not clear if they had escaped their captors or been abandoned. The incident occurred in the Gaza City area of Shijaiyah.

"Together with the entire people of Israel, I bow my head in deep sorrow and mourn the fall of three of our dear sons who were kidnapped, among them Yotam Haim and Samer Fouad al-Talalka," Netanyahu wrote on X. "This is an unbearable tragedy...."

The third victim was identified as Alon Shamriz, who was abducted from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. The three names were confirmed by the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum, which represents the families of hostages, reported Reuters.

"Yotam was a gifted musician and dedicated metal music fan who idolized the band Megadeth" and "Samer was an avid motorcyclist who loved to ride around the countryside and spend time with friends," Reuters quoted the forum as saying. "Alon's family and friends described him as a lover of life and a dedicated basketball fan."

The military said the incident was being investigated and assured the families of the victims that there would be "full transparency" in the probe.

The offensive, triggered by the unprecedented October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, has destroyed much of northern Gaza and driven 80 per cent of Gaza's population of 2.3 million from their homes. Displaced people have squeezed into shelters mainly in the south in a spiralling humanitarian crisis.

On October 7, Palestinian militants attacked communities across southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking some 240 hostage. A total of 116 soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive, which began on October 27.

Israel's air and ground assault over the past 10 weeks has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, according to the health ministry in Gaza. Thousands more are missing and feared dead.

Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling continued on Friday, including in the southern city of Rafah.

(With PTI inputs)

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