Israeli Forces Accidentally Kill Hostages

Soldiers in Israel accidentally shot and killed three Israeli hostages during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip on Friday, sources from the military reported. The troops found the hostages and mistakenly identified them as a threat, according to Chief Military Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. It was unclear whether the hostages had escaped from their captors or had been abandoned. The incident occurred in the Shijaiyah area of Gaza City, where Israeli soldiers have been engaged in fierce clashes with Hamas fighters in recent days.

The deaths prompted deep regret from the Israel Defense Forces, with a statement expressing “deep sorrow” over the incident and an ongoing investigation led by The Associated Press. Meanwhile, a U.S. envoy reported that the United States and Israel were discussing a timeline to scale back combat operations in the war against Hamas, although both parties agree that the fighting will continue for months.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the future of the Palestinian territory following the war. The return of Palestinian security forces expelled from Gaza by Hamas in 2007 was among the considerations, signaling a shift in Washington’s vision for security agreements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The potential reintegration of Palestinian security forces in Gaza has been met with strong opposition from Israel, which aims to maintain an indefinite security presence in Gaza. However, the details of how Gaza will be managed if Israel succeeds in ending Hamas control remain vague. The intention of the United States to reintegrate Palestinian security forces in Gaza represents a significant departure in U.S. policy towards the occupied territory.

During his visit, Sullivan discussed a schedule with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli War Cabinet to put an end to the intense phase of the war, while expressing concern over Israel’s high civilian casualty rate and plans for the future of Gaza. The offensive launched by Israel in response to Hamas’ attack in southern Israel on October 7 has caused widespread destruction in Gaza, forcing 80% of the enclave’s 2.3 million inhabitants to flee their homes and seek refuge in overcrowded shelters, primarily in the south of the territory, aggravating an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis.

The situation has prompted the U.S. government to express disapproval of Israel’s handling of the conflict and its future plans for Gaza, setting the stage for further negotiations and discussions between the two nations.