Antelope Valley Press

Israeli military: 3 hostages are killed in error


RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops mistakenly shot three hostages to death Friday in a battle-torn neighborho­od of Gaza City, and an Israeli strike killed a Palestinia­n journalist in the south of the besieged territory, underscori­ng the ferocity of Israel’s ongoing onslaught.

The deaths were announced as a US envoy tried to persuade the Israelis to scale back their campaign sooner rather than later.

The hostages were killed in the Gaza City area of Shijaiyah, where troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with Hamas militants in recent days. The soldiers mistakenly identified the three Israelis as a threat and opened fire on them, said the army’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

He said it was believed that the three had either fled their captors or been abandoned.

“Perhaps in the last few days, or over the past day, we still don’t know all the details, they reached this area,” Hagari said. He said the army expressed “deep sorrow” and was investigat­ing.

Hamas and other militants abducted more than 240 people in the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war, and the hostages’ plight has dominated public discourse ever since. Their families have led a powerful public campaign calling on the government to do more to bring them home.

Demonstrat­ions in solidarity with the hostages and their families take place nearly every day. Late Friday, hundreds of protesters blocked Tel Aviv’s main highway in a spontaneou­s demonstrat­ion calling for the hostages’ return.

Israeli political and military leaders often say freeing all the hostages is their top aim in the war alongside destroying Hamas.

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