ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Hamas used toxic substance to kill Nahal Oz troops on Oct. 7, IDF probe said to show

Just seven soldiers escaped poisonous inferno that killed most within minutes; mother of soldier killed in attack says senior officers failed to protect her daughter

A mural is seen outside an IDF surveillance command center at the Re'im base. The text reads: 'The flowers will continue to bloom.' November 5, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
A mural is seen outside an IDF surveillance command center at the Re'im base. The text reads: 'The flowers will continue to bloom.' November 5, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

An investigation into the nature of the deaths of IDF surveillance soldiers serving on the Nahal Oz base on October 7 has reportedly revealed that they were killed by a toxic gas that caused suffocation and loss of consciousness within a few minutes of exposure.

According to a report published by Channel 12, the main findings of the investigation indicated that an unspecified but toxic flammable substance was apparently thrown through the entrance of the building which housed the surveillance soldiers’ command center. One of the soldiers at the entrance to the building attempted to extinguish the flames but was unsuccessful and the fire continued to spread.

“They set fire to materials that ignited and spread, which contained toxic gases that could cause suffocation in a few minutes or even less than that,” Channel 12 quoted the officer delivering the report as saying, and added that the estimated time of a few minutes was an optimistic one.

As the fire continued to spread, the smoke began to enter the surveillance soldiers’ command center, where 22 people, including many of the surveillance soldiers, were hiding. In an attempt to ward off the smoke, the soldiers soaked some paper towels with water to fill the gap under the door but it didn’t work and the effects of the gas began to take hold.

“The soldiers began to leave the room and search for an exit. They were coughing and some couldn’t breathe,” the IDF officer told Channel 12. “Some told us that they felt they were stepping on some people, they tried to pick them up, and with the rest of their strength tried to call to them. They were simply surviving and trying to figure out how to get themselves out of there.”

When they reached the emergency exit, however, the soldiers realized that the door was on fire, and there was no way of opening it or even getting close to it. Those who were still able continued to search for an exit and eventually reached the bathrooms, where a small window led to the outside.

One of the officers climbed up to the window and smashed it, allowing him, five other officers and one surveillance soldier to escape the toxic inferno.

The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Israel-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The attack on the Nahal Oz base, located less than a kilometer from the Gaza border, came at the start of the murderous assault carried out by Hamas, in which roughly 3,000 terrorists burst into Israel by land, air and sea under the cover of thousands of rockets. They infiltrated more than 20 communities across the south of the country, killing more than 1,200 people and seizing some 240 hostages. Families were slaughtered in their homes in front of their loved ones and some 360 people were mowed down at an outdoor music festival.

During the attack on the Nahal Oz base, 15 IDF surveillance soldiers were killed and six more were taken hostage.

One of the soldiers killed in the attack was Sgt. Shirel Mor, 19. Speaking to the Kan public broadcaster on Tuesday, her mother Edna Mor discussed the details surrounding her daughter’s death and directed strong criticism at those she holds responsible for it.

“It wasn’t only Hamas who killed our children. It was the government, the decision-makers in the army, they were also accomplices,” she said, adding that the “baseless hatred in the streets for eight months,” an apparent reference to the deep societal divisions over government’s contentious judicial overhaul, also played a role in the failure to protect the country against Hamas on October 7.

Sgt. Shirel Mor, 19 (Courtesy)

Following Shirel’s death, no senior officers visited Edna to deliver condolences or to discuss what had happened, she told Kan.

“They are afraid to come to us,” she said of the officers. “So who’s coming? The ones who are new there. The really senior ones, those who are in charge of the border, don’t come. They send junior officers.”

“It’s not that they’re ashamed. They don’t have any shame; if they didn’t guard our borders then they have no shame. They’re just afraid that we will finish them off here at home,” she added.

Describing Shirel as a person filled with joie de vivre, Edna said through tears, “She was put here for 20 years to educate me, her father, and her older sister and older brother. She contributed so much at home.

“How will I live? I had her at 40 years old; I gave myself a gift. They took her from me and they are guilty,” she told Kan. “I want to take all the rugs out of their cabinet, they’re always sweeping everything under the rug. I want those who are guilty to sit in prison. I, personally, and many other parents, will not accept resignations… they need to sit in prison without rank and without a pension.”

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