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Slain hostage’s dad says IDF murdered him, calls for recognizing him as fallen soldier

The father of Alon Shamriz, one of three hostages who was mistakenly killed Friday by IDF troops in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, on Sunday implored the army to recognize his son as a fallen soldier.

Speaking with Channel 12 news, Avi Shamriz said the family had requested such a designation but the request was rejected earlier in the day.

  • “We were supposed to embrace him today and not mourn,” he said in an interview after the funeral.
  • Shamriz, who was abducted by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, was killed alongside Yotam Haim, 28 and Samar Fouad Talalka, 22.

The three escaped Hamas captivity after 70 days and were shot dead by IDF troops after they were mistakenly identified as a threat.

Shamriz recalled being told “more than once” that his son Alon likely led Haim and Talalka in their effort to reach safety.

The IDF has said that it believes the three “fled or were abandoned by the terrorists who held them captive,” as Israeli forces closed in, and noted that troops had not encountered any civilians in the war-torn area of Shejaiya in quite some time.

  • Explaining why he believed his son should be recognized as a fallen soldier, Shamriz said he didn’t see any difference between him and soldiers who are accidentally killed by friendly fire.

“The minimum would be to recognize him as a fallen soldier… he acted like a soldier,” he said of his son.

  • “Among the three, he was a fighter; he was familiar with the Hamas tunnels from his military service,” Shamriz said.
  • “There’s no doubt that he’s the mastermind and the person who executed the plan to get his friends out.”
  • “He behaved like a soldier and experienced Hamas captivity, which wasn’t easy. I know he made sure to plan the escape, I have no doubt about it.”

The father also denounced the soldier who first shot at the hostages, saying he had a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.

“It was clear that he knew who he was dealing with,” Shamriz asserted.

  • He said the “SOS” and “Help, 3 hostages” signs that the hostages had put up to attract the IDF’s attention were written by his son: “I recognize his handwriting,” Shamriz told Channel 13.
  • “They cried out for help, they did everything right,” he continued.
  • “They hung up the signs, they wrote on them. After that, they saw the IDF wasn’t coming so they walked toward them. And because my son is familiar with the army, I’m sure he gave the other two hostages the instructions to remove their shirts and wave a white flag.
  • “They were walking in broad daylight, it wasn’t dark. They walked in the middle of the road and the troops there just slaughtered them.”

He said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not spoken to him, but Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet observer Gadi Eisenkot did. Eisenkot was “much more empathetic” than Gallant, he said, but added that Gallant took the family’s anger and criticism “like a man.”

Eisenkot, a former IDF chief of staff, earlier this month lost both his son and nephew to the war with Hamas in Gaza.

“Today should have been a day of celebration, and a mark of honor for the IDF — that the IDF freed three hostages,” Shamriz told Channel 13.

“But what happened, the bottom line is, that the IDF abandoned my son on October 7, and the IDF murdered my son on December 14. That’s what happened.”

Not sparing any criticism, he added: “It wasn’t neglect, it was lawlessness. Someone took the rules of engagement into his own hands and killed my son, that’s all.”

  • Shamriz, a computer engineering student at Sapir College, was buried on Sunday in Kibbutz Shefayim, where most of the evacuees from Kfar Aza have been staying.

His brother Ido eulogized him at the funeral and, like his father, cast blame on the authorities for both his kidnapping and his death.

  • “My brother, I hope your death will inspire life, and they will realize the lives of our hostages are critical, and they have to act quickly to free everyone,” said Ido. “My poor brother, what did you go through in those moments, when you had already seen the light, and it turned into darkness?

“The ones who abandoned you also murdered you, after you did everything right. Everything we did was for you, and now it will all be for your memory.”

  • Amy Spiro contributed to this report.

Source: TOI