The Israeli military has released the final results of its investigation into an incident on October 7, 2022 when Israeli forces accidentally killed 3 civilian hostages during a raid in Gaza. The report acknowledges major failures in the rescue mission but stops short of finding any malicious intent or moral failure on the part of the soldiers involved.
Background of the Hostage Situation
On September 28, 2022, two Israeli civilians illegally crossed into Gaza and were captured by Hamas militants. Over the next week, indirect negotiations took place between Hamas and Israel on securing their release.
On October 7, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a rescue operation in Gaza. As IDF tanks approached the location where Israeli intelligence believed the hostages were being held, the hostages fled the building, waving a white flag.
Tragically, IDF soldiers opened fire on the men, killing all 3 hostages. The three men killed were identified as:
|Place of Residence
|Nazmi Abu Karsh
Findings of the IDF Investigation
The IDF report found that the soldiers failed to properly identify the men waving a white flag as the hostages they were attempting to rescue. Their calls for help in Hebrew were mistaken for an ambush by Hamas militants.
The report states that the battalion commander was 150 meters from the men when they started approaching with their hands raised. He instructed them in Hebrew to keep their hands raised. When Nazmi Abu Karsh began running while waving his arms, a soldier shot and killed him, likely believing he posed a threat.
The other two men were hit with tank fire. The second hostage was killed by an IDF soldier 15 minutes after the first shooting.
IDF Concludes Mistakes But No Moral Failure
The military investigation found major failures in properly identifying the hostages and poor coordination during the rescue mission.
However, the report emphasized that the soldiers were acting in a complex combat situation against Hamas militants. It concluded there was no moral failure or malicious intent in the accidental killing of the hostages.
Brigadier General Ori Shilo, the lead investigator, said:
“We failed in our mission…We did not identify the hostages properly and we did not identify their death screams correctly and we did not mark their direction properly.”
“But we did not identify any moral failure or negligence that would justify legal steps against officers or soldiers.”
Mixed Reactions from Families of the Deceased
Family members of the hostages killed have had mixed reactions to the IDF report and its conclusions.
Nazmi Abu Karsh’s mother stated:
“I was not angry at the IDF for even a minute. I love you all very much, I want to embrace you all. It’s not your fault, absolutely not your fault.”
However, Yaron Alak’s brother said the IDF’s conclusions were “unacceptable”:
“It cannot be that they failed and there is no accountability.”
What Comes Next?
With the IDF investigation now complete, it is unclear if there will be any further legal inquiry into the accidental killings.
The report has already drawn criticism from some families of the victims, though the mother of one hostage publicly forgave the soldiers.
The tragic incident could impact relations between Israel’s military and citizens. It may also influence public opinion of operations in Gaza during ongoing tensions with Palestinian militant groups like Hamas.
This breaking news story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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