Hundreds took to the streets of Tel Aviv after it emerged that Israel’s soldiers had killed three hostages in Gaza.
TEL AVIV — Mounting anger at the Israeli government spilled onto the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday after it emerged that the country’s military had mistakenly killed three hostages in Gaza who “had a stick with a white cloth on it.”
In a plaza in downtown Tel Aviv known as “Hostage Square,” Raz Ben Ami, who was released from captivity late last month, told a crowd of hundreds that she had “warned” the Israeli government that military operations in Gaza were putting hostages at risk and had “unfortunately” been proven right.
Emotions were raw a day after news broke that Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka and Alon Shamriz had been killed by soldiers from their own side.
Ben Ami, whose husband, Ohad Ben Ami, remains in captivity, told the crowd that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war Cabinet should present a proposal to free the dozens of people still held by Hamas.
Holding an hourglass, Ruby Chen, whose 19-year-old son Itay Chen is still being held hostage, said the government “needs to be active” in getting a new deal. He added that it was evident the current strategy wasn’t working very well.
‘He also dies’
The protest, which followed another demonstration on Friday night, erupted after an official from the Israel Defense Forces revealed Saturday that the hostages “had a stick with a white cloth on it” before they were killed.
The hostages were believed to have either “been abandoned or escaped” Hamas’ captivity, the official said, adding that a soldier felt threatened and opened fire.
“Two are killed immediately, one is injured and runs back into the building,” the official said. He added a that “cry for help” had been heard in Hebrew, but after the battalion commander issued a cease-fire order there was “another burst of fire,” and “he also dies.”
A preliminary investigation has been launched “at the highest level,” the official said, adding that the conduct went “against our rules of engagement.”
His comments came less than 24 hours after Netanyahu offered his condolences to the families of the dead in a post on the social media platform X.
“The entire state of Israel will mourn this evening,” he said Friday. “This is a combat zone where there have been many incidents in recent days. Immediate lessons from the event are now being passed on to all the fighting forces in the field.”
The war has already claimed thousands of lives on both sides.