Nova festival attendee was 'misidentified as Hamas terrorist' and killed by Israeli forces

Nova festival attendee was 'misidentified as Hamas terrorist' and killed by Israeli forces
A young Israeli reveller sought refuge from the attack on the Nova festival at a nearby kibbutz, only for Israeli security forces to shoot him dead.
2 min read
24 February, 2024
The death of Ofek has raised questions about the extent of 'friendly-fire' deaths during the events of 7 October [Getty]

Israeli forces shot and killed a music festival attendee who they mistakenly identified as a Hamas fighter, according to a report by Haaretz this week.

Ofek Atun, 24, was attending Nova Music Festival on 7 October when the attack by Hamas began.

Seeking refuge, he and his girlfriend Tamar fled to the nearby Kibbutz Alumim and entered an elderly couple’s house for shelter. The couple, hiding in another room, then called the community’s security squad on them.

Atun sustained multiple gunshot wounds from the responding Israeli guard, accompanied by an Israeli soldier, yet his girlfriend and the kibbutz offer differing narratives of the incident.

The kibbutz claimed the Israeli soldier saw Ofek charging towards them brandishing a knife and cursing in Hebrew. According to this version of events, a struggle then ensued during which Ofek was shot dead.

The Israeli soldier alleges that Ofek attacked him from behind, prompting him to fire fourteen shots. The team commander later said the soldier "emptied the magazine" into Ofek, mistaking him for "a terrorist".

However, Tamar tells a very different version of events.

At the time of Ofek’s killing, she was hiding in the shower and insists she heard neither cursing nor a struggle between her boyfriend and the soldier.  What she heard was only a short burst of fire.

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“I know there was no struggle,” she said to Haaretz. “I saw him [Ofek] dead, he didn't respond. I heard Hebrew from outside and I went to the door of the house.”

It was at this point that Tamar was also shot in the stomach by the kibbutz security squad's commander.

It was only after hearing her cries that the security forces claim they realised that they had shot at Israelis.

The soldier who killed Ofek has not been investigated, as his account appears to be accepted over Tamar’s.

Ofek’s death was certainly not the only case of innocent Israelis being allegedly mistaken for Hamas and killed by their own countrymen.

A police report in November of last year revealed that an Israeli military helicopter opened fire at festival-goers during the Hamas assault on the Nova music festival on 7 October.

The exact number of those killed by Israeli forces on 7 October has never been revealed.

In a report from Ynet on December 12 of last year, the Israeli military said such incidents constituted an “immense and complex quantity of [Israeli deaths] that took place in the kibbutzim and southern Israeli communities.”