"IDF is Responsible"

Chief of Staff: The IDF is Responsible for the Case; The Shooting was Done Under Pressure

The Chief of Staff commented on the tragedy in Gaza: "I think about what's going through the mind of the fighter in Shejaiya, after days of hard fighting, an encounter with terrorists dressed in civilian clothes, he must be alert and ready for any threat."

Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (IDF spokesman)

The tragedy in Gaza. The Chief of Staff visited the Southern Command and commented on the killing of the three abductees by the fighters' shots. "The IDF, and I as its commander, are responsible for what happened, and we will do everything to prevent the recurrence of such cases in the continuation of the fighting."

Among his words he said, "The incident in which IDF soldiers accidentally killed Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz and Samer Talalka, z"l, is a difficult and painful incident. The three abductees who survived seventy harsh days, moved towards the IDF soldiers, and were killed by the fire of our forces. There is nothing that the IDF soldiers and their commanders in the Gaza Strip want more than to rescue the abductees alive. We did not succeed in this case. We feel the deep sorrow of the families for the deaths of the abductees.

"The IDF, and I as its commander, are responsible for what happened," Halevi said, "We will do everything to prevent the recurrence of such cases in the continuation of the fighting. I think about what's going through the mind of the fighter in Shejaiya, after days of hard fighting, short-range encounters, an encounter with terrorists dressed in civilian clothes who come forward in various fraudulent ways. He must be alert and ready for any threat. A split-second decision can cost life or death."

Chief of Staff: "The abductees did everything to make us understand"

"I think that the three abductees did everything so that we would understand - they moved without shirts so that we would not suspect that they were carrying a charge on their bodies and held a white cloth so that we would understand. The shooting of the abductees was carried out contrary to the instructions to open fire. It is forbidden to shoot at those who raise a white flag and ask to surrender. But this shooting was carried out during combat and under stressful conditions. We completed a preliminary investigation of the incident immediately, one that will allow us to draw lessons while fighting and pass them on to the fighting forces in the field.

"We informed the families of the difficult findings and published them transparently to the public. There may be additional cases in which abductees escape or are abandoned during the fighting, and we have the duty and responsibility to rescue them alive. The fighting is what brings the opportunities for the return of the abductees.

"Our fighters have been fighting for seventy days in Gaza and on the other fronts, with bravery and determination to defend the homeland. In one moment, the complexity of our just war in Gaza was revealed. We went out to fight to dismantle the enemy across the border, and to bring the abductees home. Without the determined fighting, we will not be able to return the abductees and we will not be able to reestablish the settlements safely. We must continue the fighting with vigor, without taking our eyes off its goals."

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