The IDF encountered three Israeli hostages calling for help near the square.They spotted the IDF troops and walked out of the building shirtless, waving white flags and identifying themselves in Hebrew. Unfortunately, because the incident happened suddenly, the IDF soldiers may not have realized that the three people were Israeli hostages, and two of the three hostages were accidentally killed by the IDF. One hostage was shot and wounded but managed to return to the building and identify himself to the IDF in Hebrew. According to Israeli media reports, the IDF on-site commander issued a ceasefire order at this time, and after the last hostage appeared, he was shot.

Israel has only two purposes in Gaza: to rescue the hostages and to eliminate Hamas. The deaths of the first two hostages can be attributed to the harsh street fighting in the Gaza Strip, but why did the third hostage lose his life despite his identity being revealed?

There was a time difference between the death of the third hostage and the first two, and his death should not have the same explanation as the other hostages.What is the explanation of the Israeli government for the third hostage? To prevent similar situations, what are the solutions given by the Israeli government?

  • 1
    why did the third hostage lose his life despite his identity being revealed? Where did you read that "his identity [was] revealed"? The article you linked to states, "The third hostage then called out, “Help,” in Hebrew, and a commander ordered troops to stop shooting. But when the hostage exited the building, a soldier in a nearby building shot him dead." Are you claiming that the "soldier in a nearby building" knew who that third hostage was, yet deliberately chose to "[shoot] him dead"?
    – user103496
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:31
  • @user103496 I made a mistake where I attached another link by mistake and now I've fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out.
    – yamakaze
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:37
  • 1
    You haven't fixed anything. You are still claiming that some soldier deliberately killed the third hostage despite knowing that hostage's identity. But you give no source for your claim.
    – user103496
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:40
  • I've been thinking about it a lot since it happened and after the initial rage subsided, I came to realize one thing: I was not there, I can't start to imagine how the shooting soldiers felt, what they've been through before that. I do know that Hamas keeps putting traps on purpose, with audio of the hostages in their real voice, and I do know that they sometimes pose as innocent people, hiding weapons even in the underwear, then try to make surprise attack. All of this combined leads to the answer to this question: we don't and we can't know such a thing. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Israeli Defense Forces acknowledged that the killing of the three hostages was in violation of the rules of engagement:

The IDF soldiers who mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages in Gaza on Friday violated the rules of engagement, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi announced on Saturday night.

As background to that: Hamas has repeatedly used white flags, children or civilians to ambush the IDF soldiers - a practice which constitutes a violation of the laws of war (i.e., a war crime)::

The incident happened in the Shejaia neighborhood of Gaza City, an area of intense combat where Hamas terrorists have been operating in civilian attire and used complex deception tactics.

Some of those tactics have included trying to use white flags, stuffed animals, or seemingly harmless women to get IDF soldiers to approach an area, where some other terrorists then open fire or set off a remote explosive device.


“Sometimes tapes are played with the sounds of an infant crying, in order to [lure] soldiers into apartments and then detonate explosives. These are events that have taken place and that continue to take place,” Gallant said.

In a speech to soldiers Halveli later addressed the desired behavior in similar situations:

Halevi later addressed commanders and soldiers of the 99th Division in the Gaza Strip, telling them: “You see two people, they are with hands up and without shirts, take two seconds, and I want to tell you something just as important, and if it’s two Gazans with a white flag coming out to surrender why would we shoot at them? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That’s not the IDF.

“I’m telling you whoever got confused here, even those who fought and now lay down their arms and raise their hands, we arrest them, we don’t shoot them. We get a lot of intelligence from the captives we have, we already have over a thousand. We don’t shoot them because the IDF doesn’t shoot a person who raises their hands. That’s strength, not weakness,” he added.

Finally, it is necessary to note that situation here is not like the US invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan, where the local language is strikingly different from English, and somebody crying "help" in English is clearly non-local. Arabic and Hebrew are related Semitic languages, and many Gazans master Hebrew, because they visited, worked, or studied in Israel... or because they did time in an Israeli prison - not uncommon background for Hamas fighters. Those who were born before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might have learned it during the Israeli presence in Gaza.


Daniel Hagari (IDF spokesperson, as quoted by CNN):

This is a mistake and a malfunction.

IDF website:

Chief of the General Staff's Statement Regarding the Incident in Which 3 Hostages were Mistakenly Identified as a Threat ...

IDF soldiers accidentally killed Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz, and Samer El-Talalka


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