SAM GREENHILL meets survivors of the Hamas death squads

Babies beheaded, 40 children shot dead in a single settlement, and families burnt alive by Hamas… SAM GREENHILL meets survivors of the death squads and hears their stories of unimaginable horror

  • Hamas massacred 40 children in one kibbutz alone, sparking global outrage 

Babies beheaded, grandparents slain and families torn apart – the full horror of ‘Israel’s 9/11’ was starting to emerge last night.

Hamas gunmen massacred 40 children in one farm settlement alone, their small bodies lying in their rooms riddled with bullets.

And as shellshocked survivors told their stories, one bereaved grandson, Shmuel Harel, told me: ‘They are the new Nazis. This was a holocaust, pure and simple.’

He said his terrified 90-year-old grandmother’s last moments were being dragged into her living room and shot twice in the head.

A sobbing Israeli woman said she had to listen in helpless horror as her 12-year-old autistic daughter was kidnapped while clinging desperately to her grandmother.

Israeli forces extracting dead bodies of Israeli residents from a destroyed house as fighting between Israeli troops and Islamist Hamas militants continues

Cars and a stroller left behind at the scene of a rocket attack from Gaza on the weekend are pictured on a main road near the entrance of the Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Aza

Israeli soldiers prepare to remove the bodies of their compatriots, killed during an attack by Hamas in Kfar Aza

An Israeli soldier carries a dog as they take position next to Kfar Aza kibbutz near the border with Gaza

Israeli soldiers remove the body of a compatriot, killed during an attack by Hamas terrorists in Kfar Aza, on Tuesday

As vengeful Israel unleashes hell in military retaliation, stunned survivors are gathering at refugee hotels a safe distance from the front line – where they weep.

Last night at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel on the Dead Sea, dozens were sat in the lobby and coffee shop, some carrying photos of loved ones butchered or kidnapped.

Galit Dan, 53, told how her daughter Noya, 12, went off for a sleepover with her grandmother Carmela, 80. As the sickening attack unfolded, Noya sent a harrowing voice message to her mother, whispering: ‘Mummy, I’m scared. There are people in the house. Help me.’

Her mother said: ‘These animals came for them. We have heard nothing from them and their bodies have not been found among the dead, so we believe they have been taken. I am living every parent’s nightmare – every parent in the world will feel our pain.’

Hamas terrorists beheaded babies and gunned down entire families in their homes in the Kfar Aza kibbutz, the Israeli military said. Bodies there litter the streets among burnt-out houses, strewn furniture and torched cars.

Yesterday Israeli soldiers going house to house removing the dead raged that innocents were killed ‘not in war, not a battlefield, but in their beds’.

At nearby Kisufim kibbutz, a settlement of 375 peace-loving souls tending to avocado trees and herds of dairy cows, horror was unleashed at 6.20am on Saturday as the grenade-lobbing Hamas terrorists swept in.

Kibbutz resident Mr Harel, 33, told me: ‘They came to kill, and to abuse, and to desecrate. They came to my grandmother’s house. She was 90.’ Jina Semiaitz, who had lived on the kibbutz since she was a young woman, had heard the shots and gone into her armoured shelter, but did not lock the door, he said.

Shmuel Harel (L) said his terrified 90-year-old grandmother’s (R) last moments were being dragged into her living room and shot twice in the head

Shmuel Harel (L) survived along with kibbutz veteran Benny Hason (R) after Hamas terrorists swept in

The Leonardo Plaza where Kisufim Kibbutz residents have come for refuge. Last night dozens were sat in the lobby and coffee shop, some carrying photos of loved ones killed or kidnapped

Brimming with anger, her grandson said: ‘She was terrified and confused, and doesn’t hear very well, and she didn’t realise what was going on. 

‘She was the sweetest old lady, and they pulled her out of her shelter and dragged her to her living room. 

‘They shot her twice in the head. A 90-year-old – what possible harm could she do them? Then they went to her 71-year-old cousin, Ofer Ron, and shot him too in exactly the same way. These are the new Nazis.’

The Hamas terrorists continued their sick manhunt throughout the communal farm. Mr Harel said: ‘An 80-year-old man was handcuffed behind his back.

‘They shoved him on to the back seat and kidnapped him in his own car. We don’t know what has happened to him or if he is still alive. 

‘There was a family – a mother, father and 15-year-old boy. They hid in their shelter. So the terrorists set fire to their house.

A baby’s seat and child’s dress is seen covered in blood in the aftermath of a Hamas attack 

Gunshots and blood stains are seen on a door and walls of a house where civilians were killed days earlier in an attack by Hamas on this kibbutz near the border with Gaza on Tuesday

Hamas terrorists beheaded babies and gunned down entire families in their homes in a small kibbutz in Israel, Israeli soldiers have claimed

Outside the destroyed homes, the soldiers told i24News correspondent Nicole Zedek (pictured) how they saw the bodies of babies next to their cots, their heads chopped off, in a sign of the depraved acts committed by the terrorists since they attacked Israel on Saturday

A view of a house left in ruins after an attack by Hamas militants on this kibbutz days earlier when dozens of civilians were killed near the border with Gaza on Tuesday

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of the Hamas attack on the Kfar Aza Kibbutz on Tuesday

An IDF Soldier covers his nose while walking past Hamas militants and Israeli civilians who were killed days earlier in an attack by Hamas militants on the Kfar Aza Kibbutz on Tuesday

‘They torched it, ransacked it and took food from the fridge. The family burnt to death. Can you imagine the terror of their final moments together? 

‘My friend saw the fire and tried to help but it was too ferocious. He managed to rescue the 80-year-old woman next door, in her wheelchair.’

Mr Harel, who is a business consultant, said: ‘We live on a kibbutz. It is peace-loving. But these people behaved like Nazis, like Isis.

‘They killed and then they abused the bodies. We need the world to know what happened in Kisufim Kibbutz so it never happens anywhere ever again.’

At the Leonardo Plaza, Mr Harel and some 300 survivors from Kisufim – half a mile from the Gaza fence, and lying close to the outdoor festival where hundreds were massacred – huddle together in groups after being evacuated. 

Flame and smoke rise over Lebanon as seen from Israel’s border with Lebanon in northern Israel

Huge explosions illuminate the sky during retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza City on October 10, 2023 

Palestinians watch others looking for injured in the rubble of a destroyed residential building following an Israeli airstrike

Israeli soldiers patrol near burned houses after an attack by Palestinian militants on this kibbutz near border with Gaza

Israel said it recaptured Gaza border areas from Hamas as the war’s death toll passed 3,000 on October 10

Palestinians rescue a young girl from the rubble of a destroyed residential building following an Israeli airstrike

Palestinian citizens inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli airstrikes on October 10

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. The Israel-Gaza war entered its fourth day on Tursday

A picture shows rockets fired from the Gaza City (R) being intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence missile system (L)

Palestinians rescue a man from the rubble of a destroyed residential building following an Israeli airstrike

The Israeli government is funding their stay in the hotel, which is more used to welcoming tourists visiting the Dead Sea, the nearby salt lake famous for its rejuvenating mud treatments.

Nothing like that can help. Across the hotel lobby where I am writing this, a grandmother sobs as a younger woman tenderly strokes her arm. A group of parents are angrily swapping horror stories, jabbing the air with their fingers. Others just hug silently. But all around, children are gleefully chasing each other apparently oblivious to the fury and drama.

And in a surreal juxtaposition, two clowns recently showed up in brightly coloured bobble hats to entertain the youngsters, while a flautist is performing a calming melody. Every so often, locals arrive bearing cardboard boxes of donated clothes and toys – filling the hotel’s restaurant.

Benny Hason, a 66-year-old veteran of the kibbutz, goes around consoling people table by table. He said: ‘They were stalking outside our houses, shouting ‘Slaughter the Jews’ in Arabic and firing guns and shotguns.

‘They were throwing grenades into people’s houses. Most people had got into their shelters and locked the doors – but the terrorists were trying to blast open the doors with their bombs. Not everyone was lucky. Today our community is smaller.’

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