The 3 hostages killed by IDF fire
The 3 hostages killed by IDF fireCourtesy of the families

The Abducted and Missing Families Forum commented Saturday evening on the tragic killing of three hostages on Friday by IDF fire.

"The thought of these brave boys who survived two months in Hamas captivity and exactly when they were so close to returning to their families were killed in such a tragic, shocking mistake - the mistake must be investigated," said the families.

"We offer our condolences to our dear friend Iris Haim, and to the Shamriz and Talalka families, on the death of their sons Yotam, Alon and Samer in the tragic event," they added.

Even so, the Families Forum pointed out that, "The main culprit responsible for this terrible tragedy is Hamas, who kidnapped, tortured and murdered our sons and daughters. The blood of the hostages who were killed last night is on the hands of Hamas. Hamas is the one who caused this tragedy and Hamas is the one who has to pay the price."

In addition, the families noted the impossible reality under which IDF soldiers are operating in Gaza against a cruel enemy, who uses Hebrew-speaking booby-trapped dolls, and is constantly trying to draw them into ambushes.

The families have also said that beyond the terrible tragedy, the incident actually shows that putting pressure on Hamas made it possible for the hostages to escape: "We believe that the boys were able to escape because of the military pressure exerted on the terrorists. There is no other reason why the kidnappers would have given up on such an important asset. The tragedy, which is unbearably difficult, does not undermine the principle that continued military and political pressure on Hamas is what will lead to the freeing of the hostages."

Regarding the pressure being put on the Cabinet to demand a deal now, the Families Forum has raised the concern that "the pressure and demonstrations will actually increase the price of any future deal and push the possibility of the release of the hostages even further away." The Forum mentioned debates on Arab networks in Gaza that were given a boost on Saturday by the harsh reactions in Israel to the incident, where they expressed hope that the pressure will lead to the end of the war and the all-inclusive release of terrorists, as well as the psychological warfare of Hamas that is increasing Saturday night.

The Families Forum sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Saturday stating, "Agreeing to a hasty deal and demanding the mass release of murderers endangers the lives of the hostages, delays their release and endangers all citizens of Israel."

The families sent a letter to the members of the Cabinet supporting them and the line they are taking to place pressure on Hamas, which will lead to the release of the hostages. They also asked the Prime Minister to make sure that the families’ voice is heard.

In conclusion, the families thanked the IDF soldiers, "who sacrifice themselves even at times like this to return the hostages and to restore security in this very moral and just war."