Hostage Samar Talalka, mistakenly killed by IDF, buried; no government reps on hand

Family members lament pointless death of son who was taken hostage by terrorists from his workplace on Kibbutz Nir Am on October 7, say both Israel and Hamas to blame

Samar Talalka is laid to rest in southern Israel, on December 16, 2023 after he was accidentally killed by IDF troops in Gaza where he had been held hostage. (Flash90)
Samar Talalka is laid to rest in southern Israel, on December 16, 2023 after he was accidentally killed by IDF troops in Gaza where he had been held hostage. (Flash90)

Samar Fouad Talalka, who was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7 and was held captive for 70 days before he was mistakenly killed by IDF troops on Friday, was laid to rest on Saturday in a cemetery outside his hometown in southern Israel with no government or military representatives in attendance.

Talalka was shot dead on Friday along with two other hostages, Yotam Haim and Alon Lulu Shamriz, after they escaped from captivity and approached a group of Israeli soldiers, shirtless and waving a white flag.

Around 1,500 people attended his funeral, but Hebrew media outlets reported that no official representatives from the government or the military attended.

Talalka, from the Bedouin town of Hura, was kidnapped on October 7 from Nir Am, where he was working a weekend shift in the kibbutz hatchery.

His father, Lutfi al-Talalka, told the daily Haaretz that he blames both Israel and Hamas for the death of his son.

“From here we say that the army must release the hostages immediately, and draw lessons from what happened,” he said. “Samar was supposed to be with us.”

Speaking to the paper, a relative identified only as Amer said, “He could have returned alive. I’m sure there was no intent to kill him but they should have used better judgment… It’s not that he was murdered during the [October 7] massacre; he survived for 70 days and that wasn’t easy. I’m sure he was also hoping to return home.”

Family and friends of Samar Talalka mourn at his funeral in southern Israel, on December 16, 2023 after he was accidentally killed by IDF troops in Gaza where he had been held hostage. (Flash90)

Expressing a similar sentiment to Hebrew news outlet Ynet, Samar’s father said: “I’m devastated to receive him lifeless. We were waiting for him to fulfill all his dreams. His death broke me,” he said.

Samar Fouad Talalka, 24, from the Bedouin town of Hura, was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023; he was shot dead in error by IDF forces in Shejaiya when trying to escape on December 15, 2023 (Courtesy)

“We sat for days in fear and waited to hear his voice until the day we were informed that he had been killed.”

Ishak Salalka, Samar’s uncle, told Ynet that they had received information about his wellbeing from a Thai national who was released from captivity during a temporary truce in late November and had hoped for his safe return.

“We knew before this that he was safe and sound from the information provided by a released Thai hostage who was held in the same room as him,” the report quoted Ishak as saying. “He told us that Samar helped and translated for him.”

Asked about who he believes is responsible for his nephew’s death, Ishak said that he is “not interested in investigations and I am not interested in who is guilty and who isn’t. Samar was buried and ascended, and all the talking will not bring him back.

“Our message is that we hope the children of all the families return alive, and that the same mistake will not happen again. There are no winners in war, there is only killing and pain.”

The accidental killing of the three hostages has strengthened the calls in Israel for a second hostage deal.

Families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and supporters attend a rally calling for their return, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, December 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

It is believed that 128 hostages remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops.

The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered as well as the bodies of the three hostages who were mistakenly killed by the military. The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 21 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

The deaths of the three hostages came on the 70th day of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, which was triggered by the October 7 onslaught in which thousands of Hamas-led terrorists killed more than 1,200 people and seized some 240 hostages from across southern Israel.

In total, 21 members of Israel’s Bedouin communities were killed on October 7, and six were taken hostage, including Talalka.

Four members of the large Bedouin Ziyadne family in Rahat were among those captured on October 7, and while the two teenagers, Bilal and Aisha, were released as part of the hostage deal, their father Youssef and older brother Hamza remain in Hamas captivity.

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