Three Israeli hostages killed mistakenly by IDF ‘had been holding up white flag’ | World News

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By Sean Bell, military analyst

Details are starting to emerge about the circumstances leading to IDF soldiers targeting and killing three Israeli hostages.  

It is not clear whether the hostages had escaped from their Hamas captors or whether they had been abandoned, but it does appear that they were unarmed, in civilian clothing, and reports now suggest that one at least was waving a white flag.

So how were they targeted when the hostages did not appear to pose any threat to the IDF soldiers?

First, although some cowboy movies appear to suggest that a single gunshot will kill a target, in reality a study of over 11,000 gunshot wounds over a period of decades showed that fewer than 15% of those wounded died of their injuries.  

Therefore, for all three Israeli hostages to die suggests that they were the victims of an intensive hail of gunfire.

Second, urban warfare is incredibly difficult, dangerous and scary. Professional soldiers are trained to discriminate between threats and civilian personnel. However, Israel has mobilised over 300,000 personnel to serve in the war in Gaza, and many of them will have had limited training or experience before being thrown into the heat of battle.  

This incident only came to light because three Israeli hostages were killed – questions will inevitably be asked about how many incidents of unarmed civilians being killed go unreported.

That might go some way to explaining why the Palestinian casualty figures are rising so alarmingly.

This avoidable loss of life will inevitably increase pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu to re-focus his efforts on securing the release of hostages. 

It is no coincidence that a senior Mossad representative has subsequently been sent back to Qatar to resume hostage negotiations, although it is not yet clear whether Hamas is also prepared to re-engage in that process – yet.

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