IDF Concludes Investigation into Death of 3 Hostages
On December 15, it was reported that three hostages taken by Hamas during the initial attack against Israel on October 7 had been killed.
They died after having escaped their captors and trying to surrender to nearby IDF troops.
The IDF found that their deaths were preventable, but stated the IDF was not at fault either due to the circumstances at the time.
According to reports at the time, the three hostages emerged onto the battlefield looking to surrender to IDF troops.
Reports are mixed as to the exact details, with some reports saying they were shirtless and holding up a white flag, while others stated there were sheets nearby with the letters “SOS” on them.
Yet another report stated that the sheets were painted with the words, “Help – 3 Hostages.”
Additionally, there was a recording from a K-9 unit that had been sent into the Hamas lair, with the hostages yelling for help, but that recording was not actually heard until after the incident when the hostages lost their lives.
During the war, Hamas had tried to lure in IDF troops with fake signs of hostages on the battlefield and white flags, so the IDF was obviously weary of seeing the individuals come onto the battlefield.
When they emerged, a sniper took out two of the three hostages, reportedly not seeing a white flag. After the first two were shot, an order came down for the sniper to hold his fire, but other troops did not hear the order, and they opened fire on the third hostage.
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi commented on the investigation, stating that “[t]he pressurized conditions and operational environment made it difficult for the soldiers.”
He added, “There was no malice in the event, and the soldiers carried out the right action to the best of their understanding of the event at that moment.”
He also stated that the families of the dead hostages were briefed on the findings.