Days after the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said they mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages during combat in Gaza’s Shejaiya district, the mother of the one of hostages gunned down, recorded a message for the troops.
Iris Haim, whose son Yotam was shot dead, sent “love and hugs” to the soldiers of the Bislamach Brigade’s 17th Battalion, and said it was “not your fault”.
“I am Yotam’s mother. I wanted to tell you that I love you very much, and I hug you here from afar. All that happened is not your fault, but is only of Hamas,” the Times of Israel quoted her as saying.
She also asked the soldiers to remain in the best of their health as the people of Israel “need” them.
“Don’t think that you killed a hostage deliberately. You have to look after yourselves because only that way can you look after us,” the Israeli hostage’s mother said.
She also urged the Israeli forces to not hesitate for a second if they spot a terrorist. She also invited the soldiers to visit “at the first opportunity”.
“Nobody’s going to judge you or be angry. Not me, and not my husband Raviv. Not my daughter Noya. And not Yotam, may his memory be blessed. And not Tuval, Yotam’s brother. We love you very much. And that is all,” she concluded.
Yotam Haim was among the three people who were mistakenly gunned down by the Israeli troops. The IDF said it assumed the hostages were “a threat” and fired at them.
An initial enquiry into the incident revealed that the Israeli hostages had been holding up a white flag.
A soldier saw the hostages emerging tens of metres from Israeli forces on Friday in Shejaiya, an area of intense combat in northern Gaza, where Hamas militants operate in civilian attire and use deception tactics, a Reuters report said.
“They were all without shirts, and they had a stick with a white cloth on it. The soldier feels threatened and opens fire. He declares that they are terrorists. They (the Israeli forces) open fire. Two (hostages) are killed immediately,” the official told reporters in a phone briefing.
The third hostage was wounded and retreated into a nearby building where he called for help in Hebrew, the official said.
Apart from Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz, abducted from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and Samer Al-Talalka, abducted from nearby Kibbutz Nir Am, were mistakenly killed by Israeli forces.
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