More than 100 bodies have been found at Israeli Kibbutz Beeri as horrific details emerge of a deadly raid by Palestinian Hamas militants.
Be’eri, a subsistence farming community of 1,000 residents near Gaza, was one of the first areas targeted by militants who breached the border early Saturday morning and one of the hardest-hit areas.
According to Israeli authorities and video obtained and confirmed by , civilians were killed and taken hostage.
Footage showed heavily armed militants arriving on motorcycles in Beeri at about 7 a.m., half an hour after they breached the typically high-tech, heavily fortified border wall between Gaza and Israel.
A bloody massacre ensued. The video shows militants pulling three bodies from a car before stealing the vehicle and driving north. The footage, which first appeared on Telegram, was captured on Berry’s monitor. has located the film at an intersection northeast of the kibbutz.
Another video showed militants holding five Israeli civilians captive, and in another video confirmed by , the bodies of four people were later seen lying on the ground nearby.
Terrified residents told Israeli Channel 12 television that attackers went door to door trying to break into their homes.
A search and rescue spokesman told that of the 107 bodies found afterwards, most were local residents of the kibbutz, but some were those of Israeli security forces.
Traditionally based on agriculture, kibbutzim (plural kibbutz) were popular in the country’s early years and were built on the ideals of communal life and agriculture. Today, about 125,000 people make a living on kibbutzim, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, and there are about 250 kibbutzim across Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces acknowledged on Monday that Beeri “suffered a very serious blow”.
“We believe we need more rooms (to house evacuees). We don’t need all the rooms,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht.
The attack on Beeri happened around the same time that Hamas militants descended on a music festival called Nova three miles to the south, shooting revelers at point-blank range and looting their belongings.
More than 260 bodies were later discovered at the festival, and many participants are believed to have been arrested and taken to Gaza, triggering a desperate search by family members and foreign governments.
A number of other towns and settlements close to the Gaza border were also targeted by Hamas in the first wave of attacks, including Ofakim, Sderot, Ad Mordechai, Kfar Azza, Yetaid. and Kisufim.
Israeli authorities estimate that up to 1,000 Hamas militants have breached the border from Gaza, with the death toll rising over the weekend as Israel launched attacks and airstrikes across the densely populated area.
Officials say at least 900 people have been killed and thousands injured in Israel so far. Gaza’s health ministry said on Monday that the death toll had reached 687, including 140 children. That number is expected to rise as Israel cuts off electricity, food, water and fuel supplies to the Palestinian enclave.
The unprecedented attack by Hamas has also raised questions about apparent failures of Israel’s military and intelligence agencies – an issue the IDF has so far sidestepped, claiming Israel is focused on fighting first. “We will discuss what happens next on the intelligence front,” Hecht said Saturday.