World, Middle East

Israeli police urge media to 'demonstrate responsibility' after reports find helicopter fired at festival-goers

Haaretz newspaper says police investigation revealed Israeli attack helicopter killed some of the attendees of Nova music festival on Oct. 7

Esra Tekin  | 20.11.2023 - Update : 20.11.2023
Israeli police urge media to 'demonstrate responsibility' after reports find helicopter fired at festival-goers


Israeli police urged national media outlets on Sunday to "demonstrate responsibility" after it was reported that an Israeli combat helicopter opened fire on attendees of the Nova music festival during the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, a police investigation and interrogation of Hamas members found that the helicopter engaged with members of the group but hit some of the revelers as well.

It said that according to the assessment, the gunmen had no prior knowledge about the festival, which was held close to Kibbutz Re'im, near the border with Gaza.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper published a similar report, saying Israeli forces “found it difficult to identify Hamas militants” and helicopter pilots “used artillery” against civilians at the festival.

"The Hamas terrorists were instructed to slowly blend in with the crowd and not to move under any circumstances,” the newspaper said.

“In this way, they tried to fool the air force into believing that those below were Israelis. This deception worked for a while until the Apache helicopters had to break free of all restraints. The pilots found it difficult to distinguish who was a terrorist and who was an Israeli.”

The police have now refuted any reference to Israeli military activities in their investigation, saying there is no indication that any aerial activity in the region caused harm to civilians.

They said the examination of military activities was not part of any investigation and urged the media to "demonstrate responsibility in their reporting during this period and rely solely on official sources."

On Oct. 26, the Israeli Military Censor, which comes under the Military Intelligence Directorate, sent a letter to the press imposing various restrictions on stories from Gaza, where the military has launched airstrikes and a ground incursion, according to sources.

It said all news and visuals related to the course of the conflict and the military's activities are to be sent to the unit before publication.

On Nov. 11, Israel's Channel 12 aired footage where an Israeli reporter in front of Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon near the northern Gaza Strip said they could not provide information about the condition of soldiers brought there due to the censorship measures.

*Writing by Esra Tekin in Istanbul

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