Super Nova Festival.
An Israeli police officer inspects the aftermath of the Supernova Festival massacre. Image by EPA PHOTO

Viral post seeks to change festival massacre narrative

David Williams November 23, 2023

Footage proves Hamas did not target Supernova festival attendees and that they were instead caught in the crossfire of gun battles with IDF soldiers.


False. The footage does not show IDF soldiers, but a small number of Israeli police officers. There is abundant evidence of Hamas militants killing unarmed festival-goers.


It is being claimed a viral video is proof that unarmed ravers at the Supernova music festival in Israel on October 7 were not targeted by Hamas.

Instead, it is claimed they were caught in the crossfire between soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the militants.

The claim is false. The video footage used as evidence does not show IDF soldiers. Instead, it shows a small number of Israeli police officers attempting to lead festival-goers to safety.

Analysis of footage from October 7, 2023, reveals Hamas militants did not encounter IDF soldiers for several hours after launching their attack in which more than 360 people were killed and others taken hostage.

There is also plenty of evidence that clearly shows Hamas militants killing unarmed festival attendees.

Festival video
 The post has been viewed by millions of people around the world. 

The claim was made in a Facebook post (archived here) from October 11 which has amassed millions of views.

Alongside footage shot by a festival-goer, the caption reads: “Breaking: IDF was firing at Hamas during the music festival from within the crowds — unarmed ravers were not targeted — they were caught in the cross fire!!! The Rave was right next to the militarised border fence.”

The edited footage shows at least four uniformed men attempting to lead festival-goers to safety.

The sound of gunfire and screams can be heard as Hamas militants approach.

But the armed men are not IDF soldiers. Instead, they were among a small number of police officers at the festival site.

The Israeli Police badge is clearly visible on the shoulders of the officers at the three, six, 14  and 21-second marks. The police emblem is distinct from the emblem of the IDF.

The uniforms of the officers in the clip, who aren’t wearing helmets and are carrying only handguns, match that of Sergeant Major Debbie Abraham, a police officer on duty at the festival, who was killed battling Hamas militants.

IDF soldiers generally have olive-green combat uniforms, carry assault rifles and wear helmets.

Cop video
 The Israeli police badge is visible at various points in the video. 

Much of the events of the morning of October 7 remain unclear. But timelines of the festival attack compiled by major news outlets from video footage and eyewitness accounts also prove the claim to be false.

The Supernova Sukkot Gathering on October 6-7 was a psytrance music festival about 5km from the Gaza-Israel barrier near Kibbutz Re’im.

This timeline compiled by Le Monde newspaper shows the festival at about 6am, as the first rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel.

In the embedded video report, police officers and festival security (video mark 1min 23secs) can be seen as ravers respond to the rocket attack with panic and confusion. They are wearing the same uniforms as the officers seen in the Facebook post.

The first gunshots are heard at the festival site at around 7.30am.

At about 8am there is various footage of the militants arriving by road (Le Monde video 1min50secs).

It then cuts to the footage (video mark 1min 56 secs) in the Facebook post with the Le Monde reporter saying dozens of Hamas militants are approaching the festival, where there are about a dozen Israeli security officers – but no IDF personnel. The reporter shows that the security and police have no helmets and only carry handguns.

Security and police set up a roadblock on Route 232 away from the festival grounds, and with them is a Merkava tank, according to the report.

Analysis conducted by US broadcaster ABC News shows the tank in action at about 8.37am (video mark 3min 10secs). It is the only sign of any presence from the IDF up to this point.

Hamas video
 Hamas propaganda videos show militants on their way to the festival site. 

An off-duty soldier at the festival, who captured the footage of the tank, said the soldier operating the tank was killed.

This Channel 4 News timeline of the attack shows a roadblock manned by the festival security team with no tank (video mark 20min 18secs). The security team seems to be led by an officer in a yellow baseball cap, who can also be seen leading the team in the Facebook post video.

There are no IDF soldiers in the clip.

In the Le Monde timeline, dash cam footage from a parked car shows a Hamas militant dragging a blood-covered festival participant, while another shoots a festival-goer lying behind a car — it is 9.23am (video mark 3mins).

Hamas 2
 Some militants arrived by road while others made their way to the festival across nearby fields. 

The dash cam footage ends and resumes at 12.09pm, showing armed Hamas militants still roaming the site. This is six hours after the first rockets and several hours after Hamas first arrived at the scene — with no sign of the IDF.

IDF soldiers are visible in this video (1min mark). It appears to be the same tank and location as the Facebook video.

However, it is believed this was shot much later in the morning, or even in the early afternoon.

Festival-goers Raz Mordechai and Or Moshe told the Daily Mail of coming across the tank as they ran from the gunfire.

However, they describe sheltering for three-and-a-half hours before the IDF arrived.

Two festival workers, who also sheltered behind the tank, described waiting for three to four hours (4min mark).

In this PBS report, a survivor says she and her husband were hiding in their caravan for hours before the IDF turned up at the site (video mark 1min 8secs).

This report on the attack by Israeli state-owned broadcaster Kan News says (video mark 5min 8secs): “The festival slaughter lasted until 12 noon. Many hours when Israeli military command has no idea what’s actually happening, no idea of the size and brutality of the attack.”

In this account from local Florida TV station WJXT, survivor Danielle Yehiel says she tried to escape for four hours (video mark 5min 30secs).

She says at 6.45am (video mark 1min 49 secs) security ran among the crowd and told them to leave the concert following the rocket attack.

Ms Yehiel saw security forces trying to fight back (video mark 5mins) and later was mistakenly shot at by kibbutzim security, but in her account, there is no sign of the IDF (video mark 12 mins 50 secs).

In this report from the Associated Press, survivor Maya Alper says that for six hours she and many other concert attendees hid without help from the Israeli army as Hamas terrorists sprayed automatic gunfire and threw grenades.

Omri Sassi, one of the festival’s organisers, told Israeli media it was 10.30am when the first IDF personnel arrived.

AAP FactCheck emailed the IDF asking what time soldiers arrived at the festival site, and whether they engaged with Hamas. A spokesman did not answer the question.

Hamas dashcam
 Dash cam footage from 12.09 PM appears to show militants unopposed at the festival site. 

“The IDF is currently focused on eliminating the threat from the terrorist organisation Hamas,” he said.

“Questions of this kind will be looked into in a later stage.”

The IDF has faced criticism for the speed of its response to the attack on October 7

Footage from the site also disproves the claim that Hamas militants did not target festival-goers.

CNN published dash cam footage from shortly before 8am which shows militants tossing a grenade into a bomb shelter where festival-goers were cowering. One man who tries to run away is gunned down. The militants faced no resistance.

This dash cam footage from Telegram group South First Responders, and published by the Manila Bulletin, from about the same time shows militants opening fire on civilians trying to escape the festival by car.

The windscreen is shattered by multiple rounds. The vehicle veers across the road before coming to a halt.

Other footage from the festival published by NBC News shows militants shooting into what appears to be occupied toilet cubicles (video mark 4mins 40secs).

Then there is the aforementioned footage of an injured man being shot at point-blank range as he cowers behind a car.

The Verdict

The claim that footage proves Hamas militants did not target Supernova festival attendees and that they were instead caught in the crossfire of gun battles with IDF soldiers is false.

The footage shows a small group of police officers, not IDF soldiers.

Analysis of footage and eyewitness accounts suggests it was several hours before the IDF reached the site.

There is ample evidence that Hamas militants targeted and killed festival-goers.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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