During the Hamas-led attack on towns near the Gaza frontier, an Israeli tank shelled a house in Kibbutz Be’eri, killing at least 12 Israelis, two survivors previously claimed.
The commander who led the fighting in Be’eri, Barak Hiram, said he ordered the shelling of the house knowing there were Israeli citizens inside. He added the group of Israelis were being held hostage by Palestinian fighters and that negotiations with them had failed.
The Israeli military had planned to probe the incident once the war was over. However, as fighting decreased, the army decided to launch the investigation now, Haaretz reported.
An investigation published by the New York Times has recently outlined in-depth details of Hamas’ attack on Kibbutz Be’eri in early October. The investigation was based on testimonies, text messages, video footage and phone recordings.
The report found that nearly 100 civilians were killed during the attack, constituting around one in ten people living in the kibbutz.
It recounts an incident in which a number of Israeli captives being held by Palestinian fighters in Be’eri were killed during crossfire with Israel’s military, in what was described by the report as “a delayed and chaotic military response”.
The Israeli military launched a rocket-propelled grenade at the house, according to witnesses.
Hiram recalled telling his men: “Break in, even at the cost of civilian casualties”.
Around 1,200 Israelis were killed in total during Hamas’ attack on 7 October, the majority of whom were civilians.