Pictures of the week: Latest on Palestine-Israel conflict

Protesters march outside Israel Defense Forces headquarters in the Kirya area of Tel Aviv, Israel, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Protesters march outside Israel Defense Forces headquarters in the Kirya area of Tel Aviv, Israel, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Spokesperson of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Daniel Hagari announced on Friday night that during battles in northern Gaza in the morning, Israeli troops mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat and killed them.

In his daily briefing about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, Hagari named the hostages as Yotam Haim, who was abducted by Hamas from kibbutz Kfar Aza, and Samar Talalka, who was abducted from kibbutz Nir Am. The third hostage was not named following requests by their family.

A picture taken from the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa, near the border with Israel, shows smoke billowing near an Israeli outpost, December 15, 2023. /CFP

A picture taken from the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa, near the border with Israel, shows smoke billowing near an Israeli outpost, December 15, 2023. /CFP

A picture taken from the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa, near the border with Israel, shows smoke billowing near an Israeli outpost, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Civil defense teams and Palestinians conduct search and rescue operations among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, December 14, 2023. /CFP

Civil defense teams and Palestinians conduct search and rescue operations among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, December 14, 2023. /CFP

Civil defense teams and Palestinians conduct search and rescue operations among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, December 14, 2023. /CFP

“After the shooting, an immediate suspicion arose regarding the identity of the dead, and their bodies were quickly transferred for examination in Israel, where the hostages were identified,” he said.

“This is a sad and painful event for all of us, and the IDF bears responsibility for everything that happened,” he added.

Rescuers and civilians look for survivors amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 14, 2023. /CFP

Rescuers and civilians look for survivors amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 14, 2023. /CFP

Rescuers and civilians look for survivors amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 14, 2023. /CFP

Relatives mourn next to the shrouded body of a person killed during Israeli bombardment, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 11, 2023. /CFP

Relatives mourn next to the shrouded body of a person killed during Israeli bombardment, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 11, 2023. /CFP

Relatives mourn next to the shrouded body of a person killed during Israeli bombardment, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 11, 2023. /CFP

In response to an inquiry regarding how the hostages were able to escape Hamas captivity, Hagari said the military believed that the three fled or were abandoned by the Hamas militants who held them captive.

“The IDF expresses deep sorrow for the disaster and shares in the grief of the families,” the spokesperson added.

(With input from agencies)

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