'It smells of death here': Surveying the atrocities committed by Hamas in Kfar Aza

Nicole Zedeki24NEWS Correspondent
5 min read
Israeli soldiers remove bodies in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel.
Chaim Goldberg/Flash90Israeli soldiers remove bodies in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel.

Soldiers encounter unimaginable horrors as they remove the bodies of victims, including babies and small children — some with their heads chopped off

Press were invited on Tuesday to survey the scene of devastation in Kfar Aza, the community massacred by Hamas terrorist infiltrators, as the IDF continues to remove bodies of victims from the homes where they were murdered.

For the first time the Israeli army let media channels into one of the massacred communities, in this case Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where plumes of smoke can be seen rising in the Gaza Strip, which lies less than a quarter of a mile away.

The community’s cars, parked outside, were completely torched. And it was just a small part of the destruction, with no exact number yet of how many people were murdered, as bodies are still being collected and removed from the homes.

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The smell of death — that’s what’s left of a once vibrant community. Now, the foreign press were invited to witness the inhumane crimes, much like the Allies had done after they had won the second World War and liberated the Holocaust concentration camps. Upwards of 70 armed terrorists invaded the community, their bodies are still lying on the ground for the whole world to see the cruelty these Hamas terrorists committed.

“It’s not a war, it’s not a battlefield. You see the babies, the mother, the father, in their bedrooms, in their protection rooms, and how the terrorists killed them,” IDF Major General Itai Veruv first described the scene. “It’s a massacre.”

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Being on the border, Kfar Aza is still an active, with IDF soldiers operating in the area, on alert for any potentially remaining terrorists. In addition, rockets continue to fly overhead, and the boom of mortars, for which there is no alert siren. Artillery can be heard in the background on the border fence. Even the terrorists’ vehicles are still here, and possibly booby trapped with grenades or explosives. 

But first, the army unit is dedicating itself to removing the bodies of the Israeli civilians. We can see them covered in sheets being carried out of their own homes where they were murdered. The IDF does not have a definitive number of victims yet.

Many soldiers were called up for reserve service, and could be seen actively consoling each other after what they had to witness. They arrived expecting the worst, but the scenes are beyond anything that one could imagine. Some soldiers say they found babies with their heads cut off, entire families gunned down in their beds. Multipe babies and young children have been taken out on gurneys — so far.

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It was still a challenge for the soldiers to check each and every house, because of the numerous booby traps. The press were even advised to stay away from some areas that were not yet cleared of explosives.

The atrocities that were committed with guns, grenades, knives, all targeting innocent civilians in their homes. We can see soccer nets on lawns, a sign of the bucolic life that once existed here. Doors are wide open, strollers left behind, sidewalks destroyed by artillery. There are charred houses, as terrorists burned down houses to drive the civilians sheltering inside to come out. 

The soldiers are tasked with gut-wrenching work. For the press and the world watching, it is no less horrifying.

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Editor's Note, November 30, 2023: As the official numbers become clearer, we are correcting our initial report.

Since the massacre on October 7, i24NEWS journalists have collected eyewitness accounts from Gaza's border communities, IDF soldiers, and rescue services. Our initial report from the scene of the massacre was given during an official IDF tour to foreign journalists and was based on the testimony of officers who were among the first to arrive at the scene. Later, these numbers were supported by additional testimonies, including search and rescue volunteers from ZAKA and other emergency services.

Nearly two full months after the massacre, the total figures are becoming clear.

As journalists, our responsibility is to bring our audience the most accurate information, and we are updating our first report.

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