War in the Middle East. The evolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas

The three hostages killed in Shejaya, an eastern suburb of Gaza City, were identified by the Israeli military as Yotham Haim, 28, Alon Shamriz, 26, and Samir al-Talalqa, 22.. They were kidnapped from Kibbutz Kafar Asa and Kibbutz Nir Am respectively.

Messages were written on clothes with food scraps. They were hanging in a building about 200 meters from where the hostages were shot – by mistake – last Friday by Israeli forces, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari confirmed.

According to Chahal, the men are believed to have been kept at the site “for some time”.

Messages reading “SOS” and “Help, three hostages” read in Hebrew.

From left to right: Alon Shamriz, Yotham Haim and Samir Talalka | Forum for Families of Hostages and Missing Persons

Israeli officials have admitted that the killing of the three men carrying the white flag was a violation of the “rules of engagement”..

Hagari said the three hostages raised a white flag and were shirtless when they were shot. He insisted that this practice by the Israeli army was against the Hebrew state’s rules of war.

“What if two Gazans come out with a white flag to surrender, and we shoot? Absolutely not,” said Chief of the General Staff Major General Herzi Halevi.

“Even those who fight against us, if they lay down their arms and raise their hands, we will arrest them, we will not shoot”Halevi reiterated as quoted in Reuters.

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All three came out of a building shirtless. One of them carried a stick with a white cloth and stayed a few tens of meters from the IDF.

The man in charge of the Israeli forces on the ground felt threatened, declared them “terrorists” and opened fire. Two were killed instantly, and the third, wounded, fled into the building.

A cry for help was heard in Hebrew and the battalion commander ordered the troops to cease firing. The wounded hostages later resurfaced and were shot dead, said the Israeli official, who reported the incident on condition of anonymity.

It is unclear whether the hostages were abandoned by their captors or escaped.

Appeal to Netanyahu for new ceasefire
During Shamriz’s funeral on Sunday, his mother Dikla stood over his coffin, draped in an Israeli flag. Faced with the pain of loss, Dikla described her son as strong, determined and intelligent: “You are a hero. You survived 70 days in hell. I know you felt us the same way we felt you. Just a little while longer and you’ll be in my arms.More than 100 Israeli hostages are being secretly held in the Gaza Strip. And pressure is mounting on Israel to negotiate a deal to release the hostages.

Since a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas ended in November, the hostages’ families have urged the Israeli government to move toward a new cease-fire that would allow at least some of the trapped civilians to be freed.

The deal last month led to the release of more than 100 hostages in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails..

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deflected the appeals, insisting that “military pressure is necessary for the return of the hostages and for victory.”

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