Israeli troops may have fired on their own citizens at Supernova Music Festival, reports suggest

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulNov 20, 2023 | 16:59

Israeli troops may have fired on their own citizens at Supernova Music Festival, reports suggest

Fresh reports unveil a troubling narrative surrounding the events near the Gaza border on October 7. They suggest that Israeli troops may have resorted to indiscriminate firing into civilian areas, resulting in a number of Israeli deaths.


Regarding the October 7 incident where Hamas reportedly opened fire at Israeli civilians and took many hostages, an Israeli police investigation into the Nova music festival attack has now shed new light on the situation.


Supernova Music Festival

According to a Haaretz report, the investigation revealed that an Israeli combat helicopter from the Ramat David base targeted not only Hamas fighters who crossed the border fence from Gaza into Israel but also fired upon attendees at the Nova music festival.

Photo: Getty Images

The Israeli military and rescue services had earlier attributed all 260 Israeli casualties at the festival to Hamas and Palestinians. 

Eyewitness testimonies compiled by The Grayzone suggest that, in the desperation to contain the surprise incursion, Israeli troops indiscriminately fired on their own citizens using heavy weaponry, potentially resulting in numerous Israeli deaths from what is colloquially referred to as "friendly fire." 

These testimonies contradict the Israeli account and highlight the challenges faced by Israeli forces in distinguishing between combatants and civilians during the chaotic situation.

Unplanned attack?

The report suggests that Hamas fighters may have discovered the Nova music festival by chance, leading to a change in their initial plan to attack nearby settlements. 

  • The use of drones and communication systems by Hamas to locate the mass event is suggested, emphasizing the tactical adaptation of the attackers. 
  • The fact that the first Hamas fighters arrived at the festival from a direction different from the Gaza border fence strengthens the assessment that the terrorists adapted their plans based on real-time information.

Israeli testimonies

Further complicating the situation, Tuval Escapa, the security coordinator at Kibbutz Be’eri, told Haaretz

"Israeli commanders made “difficult decisions” including “shelling houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages"

A report on the Apache squadrons by the Israeli outlet Yedioth Aharanoth noted that 

“The pilots realized that there was tremendous difficulty in distinguishing within the occupied outposts and settlements who was a terrorist and who was a soldier or civilian… The rate of fire against the thousands of terrorists was tremendous at first, and only at a certain point did the pilots begin to slow down the attacks and carefully select the targets.”

As per the Israeli newspaper, the helicopter pilots also admitted that at first they shot at all the cars without knowing which were Hamas and which were civilians.

“It became clear that the invading forces were asked in the last briefings to walk slowly into the settlements and outposts or within them, and under no circumstances to run, in order to make the pilots think they were Israelis. This deception worked for a considerable time , until the Apache pilots realized that they had to skip all the restrictions. It was only around 9:00 a.m. that some of them began to spray the terrorists with the cannons on their own, without authorization from superiors.”

Death of civilians

A separate report also detailed instances where Israeli forces attacked their own facilities, such as inside the Erez Crossing to Gaza, in a compelled effort to repel terrorists who had seized control. 


The revelation that orders came down from the military’s high command to attack homes and areas inside Israel, even at the cost of Israeli lives, raises questions about the decision-making process and the prioritization of objectives during the intense clashes.

Yasmin Porat, an Israeli civilian who survived a hostage standoff in Be’eri, claimed that Israeli Special Forces "undoubtedly" killed remaining hostages and surrendered Hamas militants using tank shells and frenzied gunfire.


The new reports paint a vivid and distressing picture of the events on October 7 near the Gaza border, suggesting that Israeli forces may have unintentionally caused harm to their own citizens in the chaos of battle. 

It is therefore unclear how many of the Israelis who died on 7 October were killed by Hamas, whose fighters were seeking to take as many Israelis, both soldiers and civilians, captive back to Gaza as possible, and how many were killed by Israeli forces refusing to negotiate for the captives’ release.

The narrative challenges the initial portrayal of the incident and raises critical questions about decision-making, intelligence, and the accuracy of casualty figures during this tragic episode.

Last updated: November 20, 2023 | 16:59
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