update deskOctober 7

IDF probe into battle of Be’eri absolves commander

Most of the hostages held at the home of Pessi Cohen were killed by terrorist gunfire and not IDF tank fire, according to the probe.

A bulldozer destroys a house that was damaged during the Oct. 7 massacre in Kibbutz Be'eri near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, as part of a project rebuilding the destroyed homes and infrastructure in the kibbutz, July 7, 2024. Photo by Oren Cohen/Flash90.
A bulldozer destroys a house that was damaged during the Oct. 7 massacre in Kibbutz Be'eri near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, as part of a project rebuilding the destroyed homes and infrastructure in the kibbutz, July 7, 2024. Photo by Oren Cohen/Flash90.

An Israel Defense Forces investigation into the military’s handling of the Hamas-led attack on Kibbutz Be’eri and other areas of southern Israel on Oct. 7 found that most of the hostages held in one of the kibbutz’s houses that day were killed by terrorists and not by Israeli tank fire.

Channel 12 published some of the probe’s initial findings on Tuesday, a day after they were presented to Israel Defense Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

The probe concluded that 99th Division commander Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram’s order for a tank to fire two rounds at the home of Pessi Cohen was “reasonable in view of the conditions,” and that most of the 14 captives held in the building by Hamas died at their hands.

According to the findings, dozens of Nukhba terrorists arrived at Cohen’s house after the Nova music festival massacre near Kibbutz Re’im. The decision was made to fire two shells—one at the path next to the house and the other at the second floor. Video of the incident was captured by an IDF helicopter.

Israeli forces raided the house, with a battle taking place and the entire building going up in flames. One woman was rescued alive during the operation—Hadas Dagan, 70. Most of the rest of the hostages were killed by Hamas gunfire, according to the probe’s findings.

In addition to Hiram, the assault on Cohen’s home was led by Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, 36, a Yamam squad commander who died of wounds sustained during a hostage rescue operation in Gaza in June. Four captives were brought back to Israel during the mission, which was renamed “Operation Arnon” in his honor.

The probe also examined the decision to hold IDF troops outside of Be’eri while hundreds of terrorists remained inside, as well as residents of kibbutzim being left trapped in their homes or safe rooms while Israeli forces focused on removing bodies.

For example, in Kfar Aza, residents were locked in their homes until the following day.

Be’eri was one of the hardest-hit areas on Oct. 7, with 101 residents murdered by terrorists who infiltrated Israeli territory from Gaza and 29 civilians abducted into the Strip, 11 of whom remain captive.

The official results of the probe will be released Thursday.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates