The Israeli military claims it misidentified three hostages as a “threat” and killed them during its raid on Gaza.
Yotam Haim, 28, Samer Talalka, 22, and Alon Shamriz, 26, were identified as the victims.
The military expressed regret and stated that the three were killed by troops operating in Shejaiya, in Gaza’s north.
More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza after being kidnapped during the October 7 attacks on Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that Friday’s incident was under investigation and that it “expressed deep remorse over the tragic incident and sent the families its heartfelt condolences.”.
“Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home,” it added.
Following the announcement, hundreds of people gathered in central Tel Aviv and marched to an IDF military base in the city, calling on the government to secure a deal for the release of the remaining hostages.
Protesters held candles and carried placards that read “Bring [them] home” and “Hostage exchange now!”
The bodies of the three men were returned to Israeli territory, where their identities were confirmed.
Yotam Haim, who was kidnapped on October 7 from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, was a musician who loved animals and cooking Italian food.
He called his family the morning of the Hamas attack to tell them his house was on fire. Yotam was kidnapped by Hamas when he opened the window for some fresh air.
Speaking to newsmen before her son’s death, his mother said they had messaged each other as they hid in their home shelters—before their connection was lost.
The bodies of the three men were returned to Israeli territory after DNA tests confirmed their identities.
Yotam Haim, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, was a musician who loved animals and cooking Italian food.
On the morning of the Hamas attack, he called his family and told them his house was on fire. Yotam was kidnapped by Hamas after opening the window for some fresh air.
Their deaths were described as an “unbearable tragedy” by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Even on this difficult evening, we will bind up our wounds, learn the lessons, and continue with a supreme effort to return all our abductees home safely,” he said.
The killings, according to White House spokesperson John Kirby, were a “tragic mistake,” and the US did not have “perfect visibility on exactly how this operation unfolded.”
More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza after being kidnapped on October 7, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages, some of whom were released during a brief truce.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, more than 18,800 people have been killed and 50,000 have been injured in the enclave’s subsequent war.