Israeli authorities have shown harrowing footage of killings and mutilations during Hamas’s rampage in southern Israel on 7 October.
The government showed the 43-minute compilation in a private screening for dozens of foreign journalists at a military base in Tel Aviv on Monday to counter what it said were attempts to deny or downplay the extent of the atrocities.
The footage, captured by security cameras, body cameras worn by the Hamas attackers, vehicle dashboard cameras, social media accounts and videos from mobile phones, left some reporters in tears. The material included the killing of children and decapitation of some victims.
The audience was not allowed to record the compilation but one excerpt, approximately one minute long, was released to the public: it showed Hamas militants flagging down a car as it drove slowly along a rural road. The gunmen open fire, hitting the vehicle, which swerved and halted, revealing two people slumped in the front seats.
In another scene Hamas attackers entered a house and spoke to a girl hiding under a table. “After some talking back and forth they shoot and kill her,” tweeted Jotam Confino, one of the correspondents at the screening. “Hard to say how old she is but looks like 7-9 years old.”
Another scene showed a father and his two sons, aged approximately seven and nine, running in their underwear to what appeared to be a bomb shelter. A Hamas attacker threw a grenade, killing the man. The boys emerge bloodied and run. “Dad’s dead, it wasn’t a prank,” one shouts. “I know, I saw it,” replies his brother, later screaming: “Why am I alive?”
Other sequences showed a militant with an agricultural tool hacking at the head of a man lying on the ground, gunmen killing wounded female Israeli soldiers and a jubilant Hamas fighter calling his family: “I killed 10 Jews with my own hands. I’m using the dead Jewish woman’s phone to call you now.”
Another clip showed an Israeli woman inspecting a partially burned woman’s corpse to see if it was a family member. The victim’s dress was pulled up to her waist and her underpants had been removed. Maj Gen Mickey Edelstein, who briefed reporters after the viewing, said authorities had evidence of rape.
Still images showed a decapitated soldier, charred human remains, including those of young children, and several Islamic State flags, the Times of Israel reported. “When we say Hamas is Isis, it’s not a branding effort,” R Adm Daniel Hagari told reporters after the screening.
Grisly scenes from the attack, in which more than 1,400 Israelis died, have been widely shared on social media in the past two weeks but Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesperson, said there was a “Holocaust denial-like phenomenon” about the scale of atrocities.
The screening took place amid renewed appeals to Israel to halt its bombing of Gaza, which killed at least 400 Palestinians in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in the territory to more than 5,000, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The dead include 2,055 children, it said.
About 1.4 million people – more than half of Gaza’s population – have been displaced in the retaliatory bombing, creating a humanitarian calamity for people that are trapped and deprived of water, food and medicine, the United Nations said. Israeli authorities said they launched limited raids into Gaza in advance of an expected ground offensive.