Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka and Alon Shamriz
Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka and Alon Shamriz

Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka and Alon Shamriz: who they are and what happened to them

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According to an Israeli military official, three Israeli prisoners who were erroneously shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza were holding a white cloth.

“Against our rules of engagement” was how the official put it, and the “highest level” of investigation was underway.

Yotam Haim, 28, Samer Talalka, 22, and Alon Shamriz, 26, who were the hostages, were slain in Shejaiya on Friday.

In the region surrounding Gaza City, Israeli troops have encountered fierce opposition.

This case will increase the pressure on Israeli officials to come to an agreement over the release of the remaining captives in Gaza.

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Following their kidnapping during the October 7th Hamas attacks, over 120 individuals are still held captive in Gaza. Israel is gripped by the fear of what will happen to their families while the military continues its offensive against Hamas.

There will be no pause in Israeli activities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at a press conference on Saturday night.

“Both victory and the release of the hostages require military pressure. “We have nothing without military pressure,” Mr. Netanyahu remarked.

Regarding the release of hostages, Hamas stated that it has informed mediators that talks would not take place “unless the aggression against our people stops once and for all”.

Speaking under anonymity, an Israeli military officer stated that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) preliminary inquiry revealed the three hostages had come out of a building without shirts on, one of them holding a stick covered in white cloth.

The official stated that one of the soldiers, sensing danger from the men’s tens of meters away, labeled them “terrorists” and started shooting. The third, wounded, went back inside the building while the other two were killed right away.

The battalion commander heard a plea for assistance in Hebrew and gave the order to stop firing. Later, the injured hostage made a comeback; the official reported that he was shot and died.

The official said that the captives had either fled or been abandoned by their kidnappers.

In the meantime, one of the three men’s released Thai hostages talked about his time spent with them.

The 37-year-old Wichian Temthong expressed his amazement and sadness at the news of the guys he had been held captive for almost 50 days.

He claimed that since they didn’t speak the same language, they communicated and provided moral support to one another by hand gestures.

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The families have pushed the Israeli government to negotiate a fresh ceasefire so that at least some of the detainees can be released since the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended earlier this month. More than 100 hostages were freed as a result of the original agreement, which was made in return for Palestinians detained in Israeli jails.

Thousands of people chanted “Bring them home now” as they gathered in what is now known as Hostages Square outside Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art, demanding a ceasefire.

At the vigil, Naama Weinberg, whose cousin Itai Svirsky is a hostage, stated, “It’s our biggest fear what happened – hostages who were alive are now dead.” “Baggage or bodies are not necessary. Cease hostilities until all hostages have returned, alive. We are just learning the identities of hostages who were taken alive and are now returning dead, on a daily basis.”

According to the local health authorities, the war in Gaza, which was started in retaliation for Hamas strikes that killed about 1,200 people in Israel, has killed over 18,000 people and driven hundreds of thousands more from their homes.

Large swathes of the country have been devastated, and in light of the severe lack of essential supplies, the UN has issued a humanitarian alert.

According to Israeli officials, the offensive’s objectives are to overthrow Hamas and free the hostages.

Israeli authorities have faced increasing international pressure, particularly from the US, their principal ally, in response to the growing number of civilian casualties among Palestinians; yet, they have rejected calls for a ceasefire.

On Saturday, Mr. Netanyahu resisted the pressure once more.

“Despite grief, despite international pressure, we continue until the end, nothing will stop us,” he stated.

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