Three hostages killed by Israeli forces were 'shirtless, holding white flag and crying for help in Hebrew'
Three hostages shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighbourhood Friday were shirtless, waving a white flag and one was calling out for help in Hebrew, the Israeli military said on Saturday after an initial probe into the events.
The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to brief reporters, said it was likely that the hostages, identified as Samer Fuad El-Talalka, Yotam Haim and Alon Shamriz, had been abandoned by their captors or had escaped.
The soldiers’ behaviour in killing the hostages was deemed to be “against the rules of engagement,” the Israeli military official said, adding that it was being investigated at the highest level.
Two of the three hostages were killed by snipers after they emerged from a building waving the white flag and crying for help, while the third ran into a building to hide and was shot by the Israeli soldiers when prompted to come out of hiding.
It is claimed the Israeli soldiers believed the hostages were Hamas fighters attempting to set up an elaborate ambush.
The account of how the hostages died raises further questions about the conduct of Israeli ground troops involved in the invasion of the Gaza Strip. Palestinians on several occasions have reported that Israeli soldiers opened fire as unarmed civilians tried to flee to safety.
There has also been accounts of execution style atrocities against civilians, such as that at the Shadia Abu Ghazala School near the Jabalia refugee camp, where eyewitness and video evidence points to Israeli forces shooting unarmed civilians, including children, at point blank range.
The manner of the deaths of the hostages, who were killed in the same indiscriminate manner, will only strengthen what many believe is a growing reality that Israel is waging a war with genocidal intent, a key part of which is killing, terrorising and displacing civilians.
On the domestic front, anger over the killings is likely to increase pressure on the already extremely unpopular Israeli government to renew Qatar-mediated negotiations with Hamas over swapping more captives for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Hamas has conditioned further releases on Israel halting its devastating air and ground war on Gaza, which is now in its 11th week and has killed over 18,800 people, including at least 8000 children.