IDF Gave Orders to Kill Fellow IDF Soldiers on October 7, Israeli Outlet Reports

Israeli officials instructed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers to target fellow soldiers and potentially civilians in the chaos of the October 7, 2023 attack that Israeli officials have used as a springboard for their genocide in Gaza, a prominent Israeli outlet has reported.

According to Haaretz, IDF officials gave the order to execute the “Hannibal Directive” in at least three places on October 7, as soldiers were told to stop vehicles driven by Palestinian forces that were holding Israelis from reentering Gaza at all costs.

The orders were given by senior IDF officials, as soon as just an hour after Palestinian forces first fired their rockets at Israeli targets. The Hannibal orders potentially caused Israeli forces to contribute to the Israeli death toll on October 7, and, at the very least, put the Israeli hostages — who have been used as endless justification for Israel’s genocide in Gaza — in danger from IDF fire.

There has already been one widely circulated report that Israeli forces killed at least 14 Israeli civilians on October 7 — killing 13 of them by firing from a tank at a house civilians were being held in, and killing one woman via a helicopter while she was being abducted.

Other sources have long reported that the IDF used the Hannibal procedure on October 7, potentially killing Israeli civilians. However, the news is significant coming from Haaretz — Israel’s paper of record, which typically has a Zionist lean even though it is sometimes characterized as a left-leaning outlet.

Sources told Haaretz that IDF soldiers and officials knew that the Palestinian vehicles fleeing to Gaza were carrying Israeli civilians or soldiers and were ordered to be attacked anyway.

“Everyone knew by then that such vehicles could be carrying kidnapped civilians or soldiers,” one source familiar with the attack told the outlet. “There was no case in which a vehicle carrying kidnapped people was knowingly attacked, but you couldn’t really know if there were any such people in a vehicle. I can’t say there was a clear instruction, but everyone knew what it meant to not let any vehicles return to Gaza.”

The source said that the order was given to “turn the area around the border fence into a killing zone” to essentially close off one of the border crossings into Gaza.

The orders were given as the IDF frantically crafted a response to the Hamas-led attack, despite having had warning of the attack for over a year ahead of time. “There was crazy hysteria, with decisions made without any verified information,” a military official told Haaretz.

An overall sense of chaos and indiscriminate killing seems to have dominated the IDF’s response to October 7 and its subsequent genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

A +972 Magazine and Local Call report published Monday, citing six IDF sources, found that Israeli soldiers in Gaza have been told to shoot “without restrictions,” and are allowed to target any civilian, adult or child, even if just to “blow off steam or relieve the dullness of their daily routine.”

“They report it as ‘normal fire,’ which is a codename for ‘I’m bored, so I shoot,’” one soldier deployed in northern Gaza told +972 and Local Call.

At one point in December, one soldier testified, a battalion all opened fire at the same time, creating lights and colors “like fireworks” in order to celebrate Hanukkah.

Sources testified that the lack of strict rules regarding their weapons has led to a large number of friendly fire killings within the IDF since October.

They also testified that, despite international laws requiring militaries to do everything possible to distinguish between civilians and combatants, Israeli forces are essentially told to assume every boy or man between 16 and 50 is a legitimate target.

“If we see someone in a window looking at us, he is a suspect. You shoot. The [army’s] perception is that any contact [with the population] endangers the forces, and a situation must be created in which it is forbidden to approach [the soldiers] under any circumstances. [The Palestinians] learned that when we enter, they run away.”