Israel Says Military Fire Probably Killed a Hostage Grandmother on Oct. 7

A grandmother taken captive during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel probably was killed when an Israeli helicopter, responding to the Hamas-led assault, fired on the vehicle in which she was being held, Israel’s military said on Friday.

The revelation about the abduction of the grandmother, Efrat Katz, 67, came on the same day that Israeli military officials detailed failures that led to deadly airstrikes this week on a convoy of aid workers in Gaza.

Ms. Katz’s kidnapping from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 was captured on video that showed her squashed in the back of a pickup truck along with her daughter and two grandchildren.

The military said Friday that an inquiry into air force actions on Oct. 7 as it responded to the attack found that “one of the combat helicopters that took part in the fighting fired at a vehicle that had terrorists in it” — and which, “in retrospect,” also carried hostages.

“As a result of the fire, most of the terrorists manning the vehicle were killed, and most likely, Efrat Katz was killed as well,” it said in a statement summarizing the inquiry’s findings.

The helicopter crew was not found to be at fault, the statement added, because hostages in the vehicle would have been indistinguishable from the terrorists.

“This is a tragic and unfortunate event that took place in the midst of fighting and conditions of uncertainty,” the air force’s commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, said.

Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups took more than 200 people captive during the Oct. 7 attack. About 100 hostages, most of them women and children, were released during a cease-fire in November, and at least 30 others are believed to have died in captivity, according to Israeli officials.

In December, the Israeli military said its forces had mistakenly killed three hostages in Gaza. The incident caused deep anguish in Israel, prompting calls for another temporary truce and a deal to allow more hostages to be released. But diplomatic efforts to secure another pause in the fighting have been stalled for months, even as calls for a cease-fire have mounted.

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