Victims of Hamas attack on music festival were not killed in crossfire

By: John Faerseth
October 23 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Victims of Hamas attack on music festival were not killed in crossfire

Source: Facebook (Screenshot, modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Videos show festival attendees shot by Hamas militants arriving from several directions. Only a small number of lightly armed police were present.

Claim ID ec1c90dc


A video shared on Facebook on October 17 falsely claims that most of those killed in the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel lost their lives in the crossfire and were not victims of deliberate mass killing by Hamas militants. 

While the exact number of deaths has still not been established, at least 1,400 Israelis are believed to have been killed since militants from Gaza attacked southern Israeli towns and villages on the morning of October 7, including 75 foreign citizens. According to Israeli defense forces, more than 200 are still held as hostages in Gaza. At least 3,478 Palestinians are believed to have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. 

The video states that it does not condone the attacks on Israeli towns and villages or on the Supernova festival grounds where 260 attendees are believed to have been killed, but says civilians actually lost their lives because they were caught in between what it calls “soldiers” from both sides. 

The video narrative focuses on the Supernova festival, where 260 people are believed to have been killed, claiming the targets were military bases, not civilians. It continues to state that after storming one base, the militants continued driving northwards along the 232 road towards other bases, where they found themselves at the festival ground. Festival attendees had already heard shots and were panicking. They could not leave by car because the road was blocked by Israeli police and security trying to cut off Gaza. They therefore had to flee through an open field. When the militants arrived, they exchanged fire with Israeli security, and the victims were caught in the crossfire. According to the video, this is also why parked cars were riddled with bullet holes; therefore, it was not a mass shooting.

In fact

Around 6:30 a.m. on the morning of October 7, 2023, thousands of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Simultaneously, armed militants flew across the border wall using paragliders. Explosives and bulldozers were used to breach the fortified wall, followed by militants on motorcycles. 

Videos shot by festival attendees show that they noticed rockets fired from Gaza around 6:30 a.m. The music stopped soon after, and attendees were told to leave.

The attackers approached from both north and south and reached the site around 7 a.m. According to survivors, people who were trying to drive away were shot at from several directions. Videos show militants shooting at people trying to flee across open fields, and hunting down and killing people who attempted to hide on the festival grounds. Other survivors were taken as hostages and brought to Gaza.

Those trying to escape south along the road by car found the road blocked by Hamas pickup trucks and were shot at by militants. Israeli police set up a makeshift roadblock to prevent more militants from approaching from the north, but they were few in number and do not appear to have caused any significant crossfire. According to the New York Times, which the video uses selectively as a source, the only security presence until Israeli defense forces arrived several hours later were some 30 police officers recruited to provide security by festival organizers. Videos show them armed only with handguns and without bulletproof vests. Additionally, maps provided by CNN show that attendants were fleeing to the east, away from the highway. 

The clip features a radio interview with hostage Yasmin Porat, and this is edited from a more extended interview aired on the “Morning Show” program on the Israeli state broadcaster Kan on October 15. It leaves out parts where she says she and several others were held captive at the kibbutz near where she lived by the militants until Israeli special forces arrived two and a half hours later.

She also says that one of the militants planned to surrender to the police and use her as a human shield. When Israeli special forces arrived two and a half hours later, there was shooting from both sides, but the Israeli forces stopped shooting when she shouted at them to do so. It was after this she saw the dead hostages on the ground, who she says are likely to have been shot by Israeli forces. 

The verdict

A multitude of videos show festival attendees being shot by Hamas militants who arrived from several directions. Only a small number of lightly armed police were present, who set up a roadblock in an attempt to stop more militants approaching from the north. Attendees were shot while trying to escape through a field east of the road, making crossfire extremely unlikely. We have thus rated this claim as false. 

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before