Audio aired of hostage calling for help days before mistaken IDF killing

Canine-mounted camera captures Alon Shamriz yelling ‘please help’ between bursts of gunfire, and trying to alert troops to save him and fellow hostages Yotam Haim and Samar Talalka

Alon Shamriz. (Courtesy)
Alon Shamriz. (Courtesy)

The voice, loud, clear and ragged with fright, echoes out between the unmistakable pops of gunshots.

“Help,” the voice cries out again and again. “Hostages Alon and Yotam. Help.”

The voice belongs to Alon Shamriz, one of three Israeli hostages who managed to escape their captors as they tried to alert soldiers nearby to their presence in December. A second voice in the background appears to be that of Yotam Haim, another hostage.

Days later, Shamriz, Haim, and Samar Talalka would be dead, gunned down by Israel Defense Forces troops in a harrowing instance of mistaken identity as they tried to move toward the troops, shirtless and waving a white cloth.

“Help. We are by the stairs, under the stairs. Under the stairs,” Shamriz yells desperately. “Please help.”

The recording, published Sunday by the Kan public broadcaster, was picked up by a GoPro camera mounted on a dog from the military’s Oketz canine unit, which had been sent into a Gaza City building during a gunbattle.

Soldiers had heard shouting of “Help” and “Hostages” in Hebrew from the building, but they believed it was an attempt by Hamas to lure them into an ambush, according to an IDF probe. They found signs left by the hostages trying to get soldiers’ attention, also dismissed as part of a ploy.

“Israeli hostages,” Shamriz yells in a break between the gunfire. “Help. Help.”

(From L-R) Hostages Yotam Haim, Samar Talalka and Alon Lulu Shamriz, who were killed mistakenly by IDF troops in Gaza on December 15, 2023. (Courtesy)

The dog was killed by the Hamas terrorists during the battle, and the camera was only recovered days later. By then, IDF troops had already mistakenly killed the three escaped hostages several hundred meters away.

Shamriz, 26, was abducted by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, along with Yotam Haim, 28. They were held captive with Samar Fouad Talalka, 24, who was abducted from Nir Am.

“We’re inside the location,” Shamriz cries out. “Please help.”

Relatives and friends, including mother Dikla (C-R) and father Avi (C-L), mourn as they gather for the funeral of Alon Shamriz, mistakenly killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on December 15 after being held by Hamas since October 7, in Kibbutz Shefayim near Tel Aviv on December 17, 2023. (Oren ZIV / AFP)

On December 15, days after the recording was made, the three were shot dead by IDF troops in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya as they tried to reach safety, after they were mistaken by troops for Hamas gunmen.

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

A reporter for Kan posted on X that the audio was approved for publication by Avi Shamriz, Alon’s father, who spoke to Kan on camera describing the recording.

However, a brother of Alon posted on X that the family was not notified by the IDF that the recordings had been leaked to the media.

IDF troops in northern Gaza’s Shejaiya, December 15, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

He said the Shamriz family was presented with the probe months ago, but their mother had declined to listen to the recording “because she knew she wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

“I thought it was behind us… no one needs to hear this. And here the IDF is leaking it and subjecting us to Hamas psychological terror. Now it’s out… forever,” he said.

Shamriz, Haim and Talalka were among 253 hostages captured on October 7 by the terror group Hamas during an onslaught on southern Israel in which some 1,200 people were also massacred.

Approximately 100 hostages remain in captivity, along with the remains of another 30 abductees, according to Israel.

Throughout the war in Gaza, the army has managed to rescue three hostages in two separate raids. At least one other hostage was killed in a botched rescue attempt.

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