Israeli military inquiry finds citizen 'likely' killed by own fire on 7 October

Israeli military inquiry finds citizen 'likely' killed by own fire on 7 October
An Israeli combat helicopter fired at a vehicle which contained Hamas fighters and an Israeli hostage, the military said on Friday.
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The inquiry is not the first 'friendly fire' incident by Israeli troops since the October 7 attack [GETTY]

The Israeli military said on Friday that its helicopter 'likely' killed Israeli national Efrat Katz during the 7 October battles with Hamas fighters in southern Israel.

Israel's air forces said it had completed an internal review into the incident at Kibbutz Nir Oz and found that its combat helicopter fired at a vehicle that Katz was in as she taken by Hamas fighters.

"From the findings of the examination, it appears that during the battles and the airstrikes, one of the combat helicopters that took part in the fighting, fired at a vehicle that had terrorists in it, and which, in retrospect, based on the testimonies, also had hostages in it," the army said in a statement.

"As a result of the fire, most of the terrorists manning the vehicle were killed, and most likely, Efrat Katz z”l was killed as well."

The conclusions of the examination team stated that as long as Israeli hostages were present in the moving vehicle, they could not be distinguished by the existing surveillance systems, and the shooting was defined as shooting at a vehicle with terrorists.

For several weeks, the military has been investigating reports that some of the 1,200 Israelis and foreign victims of the attack were killed by friendly fire during the chaos, in which more than 250 people were abducted as hostages.

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It said an inquiry into the events around the kidnapping of Katz, a resident of Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the communities targeted by the attack, examined a variety of video evidence and testimony of witnesses.

It said the evidence showed that one of the helicopter gunships fired at a vehicle in which gunmen were travelling and which the evidence also suggested had hostages in it.

It said the investigation showed that the hostages could not be distinguished by existing surveillance systems.

"The commander of the air force did not find fault in the operation by the helicopter crew, who operated in compliance with the orders in a complex reality of war," it said.