Israeli helicopter 'fired at Nova festival-goers' on October 7: report
The combat helicopter arrived at the scene to engage the attackers, claimed by Israel to be Hamas gunmen, but accidentally hit some of the revellers, according to the Haaretz report based on Israeli police investigations and interrogations of captured Hamas members.
Accounts widely reported at the time of Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel said fighters from the Palestinian group had engaged in a planned massacre of the young festival attendees.
However, the Haaretz report suggests that the assailants from Gaza were unaware of the music festival and did not intentionally target it.
Israeli police say 364 people were killed during the massacre, including 17 police officers, with 40 people taken hostage. However, no details of the extent of potential deaths or injuries caused by the Israeli military have been given.
Police found maps on the killed or captured Palestinian fighters with targeted locations, but none marked the Nova festival site. It is believed that the attackers noticed the festival while using paragliders or drones whose intended landing site was the nearby Re’im kibbutz.
This is further supported by the finding that assailants had approached the festival site from a nearby highway and not from the direction of the Gaza border.
The report also found that most of the 4,400 attendees had already left the festival by the time of the attack, which was wrapping up early due to reports of rocket fire.
After Hamas' surprise attack, Israel launched a ground and air assault on the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 12,300 people, including 5,000 children.
Much of the Palestinian enclave has been destroyed, and survivors of the onslaught are in the grip of a humanitarian crisis.
Israel has made numerous claims about Hamas tactics and actions that have been debunked or are yet to be verified, including the claim that Hamas fighters are using the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza as a base.