(Daily Caller)—The Israel Defense Forces(IDF) said they mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
The IDF is currently carrying out a sweeping counteroffensive in Gaza against Hamas, which is currently holding over 100 hostages in Gaza, including Israelis, foreign nationals and American citizens. The IDF said on Friday that its forces accidentally killed three Israeli hostages during ground operations in the Shijaiyah region of Gaza City.
“The IDF expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences,” IDF said on Friday. “Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.”
The Israeli troops shot the hostages after mistakenly assessing them as a threat, according to the IDF. IDF Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the hostages were in a combat zone and it was unclear whether they had escaped Hamas or were abandoned, The Associated Press reported.
An investigation into the accident was “immediately launched,” according to the IDF. Two of the hostages were identified as Israeli citizens Yotam Haim and Samer Talalka, and the third was also Israeli but was not publicly named at the request of the family.
The IDF is carrying out ground operations throughout Gaza and has recently targeted the southern region of the territory, where it believes the majority of Hamas is currently located. Part of the operations involve destroying a 300-mile underground tunnel network that serves as the nerve center for Hamas’ operations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the return of the remaining hostages is “a main goal” for Israel, noting that his country is “more determined than ever” to fully eliminate Hamas.
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