IDF estimates 3,000 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel in Oct. 7 onslaught

Tally doesn’t include Gazans who crossed the breached barrier later; some 200 terrorists were detained, one admits to gunning down kids, burning homes in new interrogation clip

FILE - Hamas terrorists are seen crossing the Israel-Gaza border fence on October 7, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
FILE - Hamas terrorists are seen crossing the Israel-Gaza border fence on October 7, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A new IDF assessment of Hamas’s October 7 massacre suggests that around 3,000 terrorists invaded southern Israel to carry out the murderous rampage through Gaza border towns, The Times of Israel has learned.

Previously, the military had estimated that some 2,500 terror operatives took part in the unprecedented assault, which claimed the lives of some 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians butchered in their homes or at a music festival. The terrorists also seized at least 245 hostages of all ages, under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

The 3,000 figure in the latest assessment only includes armed terror operatives and not the waves of Gazan citizens who took advantage of the enormous gaps in the fence to also make their way inside later in the day.

The Israel Defense Forces has said that during the first two days of fighting, its forces killed around 1,000 terrorists in Israeli territory and captured another 200, and that there are many bodies of terrorists still scattered around the border area, and it intends to collect and tally them when it’s possible to do so without endangering soldiers’ lives.

One of the apprehended terrorists has provided a grim description of himself and others gunning down children and families in Kfar Aza on October 7, in a new clip from his interrogation published Wednesday by the Shin Bet security agency.

The man, Amer Abu Ghosha, is a member of the Nukhba, the commando unit of Hamas, though he said neither of his parents had known he was a Hamas member, and that they wouldn’t have approved of it.

“Our only mission was to kill,” the man told the interrogator, “not to kidnap. Kill every person we see and return to Gaza.”

Abu Ghosha said his group of terrorists headed for Kfar Aza in a jeep, and entered the community after one of them blew up the gate with an explosive device. Once inside the town, the group of terrorists went house by house, setting them on fire and gunning down whomever they came across with their Kalashnikov rifles, or launching grenades at them.

At one point, Abu Ghosha described entering a house and hearing the voices of crying young children inside the safe room, and shooting at the room’s door. He recalled the voices eventually stopped, and inferred the children — and likely their parents — had died.

“We shot until we didn’t hear noise anymore,” he said.

Abu Ghosha and some of the other terrorists later engaged in an armed confrontation with IDF soldiers who entered the house through the windows, and were eventually forced to turn themselves in.

Asked why they killed women and children, Abu Ghosha responded: “They told us all the settlers were soldiers.”

Kfar Aza is within Israel’s internationally recognized borders, but Hamas has vowed to eradicate the Jewish state and views all its residents as illegitimate.

Abu Ghosha also acknowledged that no Muslim teachings permit the deliberate killing of children.

When asked what the difference is between Hamas and the Islamic State terror group, the man said he had been shown videos by the interrogators of some of the horrors perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians, and commented: “There is no difference. I saw videos that are worse than ISIS.”

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