Israeli forces say they’ve uncovered evidence of brutal killings: ‘They cut heads of children’
Officials in the Israeli military say they have uncovered evidence of a bloody assault by Hamas fighters on the village of Kfar Aza that included the killings of women and children as young as infants.
“They cut heads of children, cut heads of women,” David Ben Zion, a deputy commander in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), said in an on-camera interview with Israeli television station i24 News.
IDF officials took a group of reporters to the Kfar Aza village near Gaza, but much of the information on specifically what happened has come from IDF sources.
Nicole Zedeck, an i24 correspondent, said she had been told by soldiers that 40 babies had been killed in the attack, a figure that has widely been picked up elsewhere.
“The horrors that I’m hearing from these soldiers that … about 40 babies, at least, were taken out in gurneys,” Zedek said. “Still, right now, they’re going house to house, still evacuating dead bodies.”
Major Nir Dinar told Insider that forces had found the corpses of decapitated babies at the village but said he had not seen images or videos himself. He also could not confirm the number of casualties a soldier had told the i24 reporter.
“We cannot confirm any numbers. What happened in Kibbutz Kfar Aza is a massacre in which women children, toddlers and elderly were brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action,” he said in a statement to Insider.
The Hill has not confirmed the accounts from i24 or IDF personnel.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department and an Israeli military spokesperson for more information about what happened at the village.
President Biden, during remarks from the White House on Tuesday, talked of his horror at “stomach turning reports of babies being killed.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN that he heard that a woman who gave him a tour of Kfar Aza sent him a message that her parents had been killed in the village.
McCaul said he traveled to the community with a bipartisan congressional delegation over the past year to see how people live there on the border of a tense security environment.
“That kibbutz, they recommended we go there because it’s one of the most terrorized places in Israel,” he said.
“I asked why do you choose to live here? And they say ‘well it’s where my family always lived.’ They have a bond to it and they love – it’s almost kind of like patriotism for Israel and sadly I think most of them got killed as well.”
Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, where the town is located, has thus far reported 56 deaths, 20 abductions and 36 residents who are unaccounted for, according to Ynet, the online outlet for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest daily newspaper. Most of these individuals are either from Kfar Aza or neighboring Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the regional council determined.
Kfar Aza has a special connection to Washington; national security professionals, members of Congress and their staff have visited the community on organized trips to learn about the security situation and meet residents. Such aid has helped reinforce Israel’s defenses, including the Iron Dome missile defense system that has allowed communities in the region to survive rocket fire.
When a reporter from The Hill visited the town in 2018 and 2022, residents described it as a paradise where neighbors are family and children run freely.
Yet it also lies just 1 mile away from the Gaza Strip and has suffered from mortar attacks, rocket fire and improvised explosives and fire starters that torched surrounding farm fields.
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) had twice traveled to Kfar Aza, in 2018 as a master chief in the Navy and in 2022 as a congressman, he told The Hill. When asked about his visit, he pointed to statements he posted on X, formerly Twitter, of his reaction Saturday that he was “both enraged and horrified by the brutal attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israel. I fully stand by our close ally as it defends itself against these terrorists.”
Enia Krivine, senior director for the Foundation for Democracies Israel Programs and National Security Network, said visitors from Washington have connected deeply with residents they have met at Kfar Aza.
Among those Krivine introduced during trips she helped to organize was a woman named Chen, who explained to visitors what life is like in the community. The Hill is withholding her last name to protect her privacy because she could not be reached.
“What struck so many who spent time with Chen is that although she spoke of the trauma of living under rocket fire, she remained optimistic,” Krivine said.
Each time she hosted a delegation, Krivine explained, Chen “would share her desire for peace and coexistence with her neighbors in Gaza.”
“Chen’s generosity of spirit has touched so many lives,” Krivine said. “Hundreds — and maybe thousands — of Americans are watching the scenes from the massacre in Kfar Aza and feeling a deep connection and sadness today. I hope Chen can continue telling her story one day.”