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War on Gaza: Israeli tank 'fired at building housing Israelis on 7 October'

Israeli media show footage of tank firing at house in Kibbutz Be'eri during the Hamas attack, claiming hostages and Palestinian fighters were inside
Israeli soldiers gather near their Merkava tank stationed outside Kibbutz Beeri near the border with the Gaza Strip on 20 October 2023 (AFP)
Israeli soldiers gather near their Merkava tank outside Kibbutz Be'eri, near the border with the Gaza Strip, on 20 October 2023 (AFP)

An Israeli tank struck a house where Hamas fighters were holding Israeli hostages during the 7 October surprise attack on southern Israel, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The conclusion, drawn from footage released by Channel 12, has yet to be confirmed by the Israeli army.

“A tank that arrived at Kibbutz Be'eri hours after the massacre began on 7 October fired shells towards the home of Pasi Cohen, where Hamas terrorists were barricaded with Arab-Israeli residents,” the report said. 

The video was filmed from a police helicopter that was called to the area during the attacks, according to Channel 12.

The helicopter, Haaretz said, also documented that numerous forces gathered outside the main gate of the kibbutz and did not enter, despite the significant time that had passed since the beginning of the Hamas-led attack.

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One of the residents told the paper that at around 6.10pm that evening, they saw "hundreds of soldiers, dozens of Border Police vehicles, and others, and the soldiers ranged from soldiers to officers. Personally, I approached every officer I saw, even those with the rank of sergeant major, and asked who was in command.

"No one knew. It looked like total command chaos," the resident said.

"I told them that inside, families are fighting and being slaughtered, and they must enter, but there was no one to talk to. These were times and hours when we needed to flood the kibbutz with soldiers, and very few forces entered. We fought all day on our own."

Yair Avital, a member of the standby squad in the kibbutz, added that "500 soldiers stood outside, and no one took charge. People here were losing blood every minute. The army that was outside stood and did not understand what was happening here."

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Yasmin Porat, an Israeli citizen who escaped from the desert rave when dozens were killed during an attack on a festival, said that she was held in the aforementioned house with Arab-Israeli residents and managed to extricate herself from it. 

She said that she had approached one of the soldiers and asked if the shells would harm the other Arab-Israeli residents, and the soldier replied, "We're only doing it on the sides to bring down walls." 

Porat had given her testimony about the incident in an interview with an Israeli radio channel in Hebrew two months ago. She said at the time that the goal of the Palestinian fighters who held her and a dozen other captives “was to kidnap us to Gaza. Not to murder us.”

Hadas Dagan, one of the Palestinian citizens of Israel held in the house, told Haaretz that she was wounded by shrapnel from the shell. 

The Israeli army said earlier this week that it killed three Israeli hostages in the Shujaiya neighbourhood in northern Gaza on Friday, after mistaking them for a "threat".

Haaretz reported that the hostages had been shot, despite waving a white flag, after managing to escape their captors.

The military spokesperson said Israel is "reviewing" the incident.

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