Israeli fire ‘most likely’ killed woman taken captive on October 7: Army

Efrat Katz was reportedly in a vehicle with her abductors when an Israeli aircraft fired at it.

An Israeli helicopter 'fired at a vehicle' that had a captive in it, the army said [File: Jazk Gues/AFP]

An Israeli investigation has found that an Israeli woman who was seized during the October 7 Hamas attack was “most likely” killed when an Israeli combat helicopter fired on her kidnappers’ vehicle.

Efrat Katz and most of the fighters in the vehicle were killed when the aircraft fired on them, the army investigation said on Friday.

The helicopter “fired at a vehicle that had terrorists in it, and which, in retrospect, based on the testimonies, also had hostages in it,” the army said in a statement.

“As a result of the fire, most of the terrorists manning the vehicle were killed, and most likely, Efrat Katz … was killed as well.”

The “tragic and unfortunate” event occurred at a time of “fighting and conditions of uncertainty”, Israeli Air Force chief Tomer Bar said in the statement.

“The commander of the air force did not find fault in the operation by the helicopter crew, who operated in compliance with the orders in a complex reality of war.”

The army statement said the mistake occurred because surveillance systems could not distinguish captives from kidnappers once in a vehicle, and that “the shooting was defined as shooting at a vehicle with terrorists”.

Fate of captives

Katz, 68 at the time of Hamas’s attack on southern Israel, was taken from the Nir Oz settlement close to the Gaza fence.

Her daughter Doron Katz-Asher and her two children were also taken captive during the attack, but were later released on November 24.

Katz’s partner Gadi Moses and his ex-wife Margalit Moses were seized, too. Moses was later released but Gadi is believed to remain in captivity in Gaza and still alive.

Israel has said some 1,200 people were killed during the October 7 attack and more than 200 taken captive – dozens of whom have since been released. It is estimated some 130 still remain in Gaza.

Israel responded to the Hamas attack with a relentless offensive in Gaza that has killed at least 33,091 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the strip.

In December, three Israeli captives in Gaza were killed mistakenly by Israeli forces.

They were shirtless and one of them was holding up a white flag, the military said.

The military wing of Hamas said last month that seven more captives died as a result of Israel’s bombardment, adding that the total number of captives killed by Israeli military operations “may have exceeded” 70.

This week, media reports shone a light on the AI-assisted system Israel uses to identify targets for its bombing campaign in Gaza. The publications said the system, which reportedly has an error rate of about 10 percent, has led to many of the thousands of civilian deaths in the war.

Source: News Agencies