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GAZA STRIP, Dec. 17, 2023

From our Overseas Bureau

Initial enquiry revealed that the three Israeli hostages who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza emerged shirtless from a building and were bearing a makeshift White Flag when they were shot, the military said. Troubling details of how they died have created widespread anguish in Israel and prompted renewed calls for another temporary truce and a deal to allow more hostages to be released.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen. Herzi Halevy, Israeli military chief of staff, said the three hostages had done everything so that we would understand that they were harmless. Nonetheless, Israeli troops shot and killed them, in an incident which shocked a country already deeply concerned about the fate of its remaining hostages in Gaza. He said the shooting violated military’s rules of engagement.

Herzi said it is forbidden to shoot at those who raise a White Flag and seek to surrender. The Israel Defense Forces and myself as its commander, are responsible for what happened, he added.

Israeli military announced the accidental killings hours after saying it had recovered the bodies of three other Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Deaths underscore the continuing risks for more than 120 people who Israel says remain in captivity after being kidnapped during the Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

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