Defense officials: Hamas traps include shirtless men with explosive belts under pants, recordings of babies crying, men shouting in Hebrew

The tragedy has led to significant frustration among the troops who continue to risk their own lives to save the hostages, IDF sources said.

By Meir Dolev, World Israel News

Israel’s defense chiefs have acknowledged their responsibility in the accidental killing of three hostages during an escape attempt in Gaza, but added that the IDF was operating under “impossible” circumstances, where Hamas terrorists were cynically ambushing soldiers with recordings of babies crying, of people speaking Hebrew, and of shirtless terrorists with IEDs under their pants.

The incident, which involved Arab Israeli Samar Talalka, who was kidnapped from his place of employment on Kibbutz Nir Am, Yotam Haim, and Alon Lulu Shamriz — both of whom Hamas terrorists kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, occurred as they tried to signal for help to IDF soldiers in the Hamas stronghold of Shejaiya in Gaza City.

“The three hostages did everything so that we would understand,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said. “They moved without shirts so that we would not suspect them of carrying a bomb on their bodies, and held a white cloth so that we would understand.”

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The men also cried “Help” in Hebrew.

“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,” he said.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also expressed regret over the incident, acknowledging the complex challenges of urban warfare against guerrilla tactics. He emphasized the difficulties faced by soldiers in such environments, where deceptive tactics by terrorists are common.

“You must understand the circumstances and the environment in which our soldiers are operating,” Gallant said.

“Toys are booby-trapped, tapes are played with the sounds of a baby crying, in order to lure soldiers into apartments and then detonate explosives. These are events that have taken place and that are still taking place,” he said.

A senior IDF commander told Army Radio on Sunday morning that Hamas terrorists had become more sophisticated, and were now placing explosive belts under their pants so that they could approach Israeli soldiers while waving white flags and going shirtless.

Tragedy has led to significant frustration among the troops, according to IDF sources cited by the Walla news outlet. Despite the persistent dangers they face, including significant risks to their own lives, they continue to diligently search for the hostages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, alongside Gallant, emphasized the critical nature of the ongoing war with Hamas. “We are fighting for our existence, and we have to continue until victory,” Netanyahu declared, despite the tragic loss and mounting international pressure.

The incident has sparked a wave of demonstrations calling for a ceasefire and the safe return of hostages.

The IDF has since revised its engagement protocols, instructing troops to be vigilant for signs of escaping hostages and to exercise caution in identifying threats. The new guidelines aim to prevent further accidental casualties in the complex landscape of urban warfare.