The Prime Minister’s Office took the extraordinary step on Thursday of releasing gruesome photos of murdered babies to reporters and the public, seeking to underscore the atrocities carried out by Hamas in its savage rampage through southern Israel on Saturday.
The Times of Israel is sharing heavily blurred versions of the photos that were released.
A spokesman for the PMO told The Times of Israel that the rationale behind sharing such images was simple: “So that the world will see just a fraction of the horrors that Hamas carried out.”
The PMO said the photos released were some of what was shown earlier Thursday to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, adding that they are “difficult-to-see images of babies murdered and burned by the monsters of Hamas. Hamas are not human. Hamas is ISIS.”
The official Israel Twitter account chose to share the largely unblurred images with its 1.2 million followers.
The move came after some media figures heavily critical of Israel cast doubt on some of its claims about the atrocities carried out by Hamas as the terrorists infiltrated towns, murdering entire families, setting people on fire, raping women, killing children and taking more than 150 people captive.
The heated debate, in particular on X, over some reports that babies had been decapitated by Hamas terrorists, appeared to spark pushback from both US and Israeli officials, who repeatedly detailed the litany of shocking crimes.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. I never really thought that I would see, have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children,” US President Joe Biden said in comments with US Jewish leaders at the White House on Wednesday evening.
The White House later said the president had not seen pictures or confirmed such reports independently, but had based his comments on various media reports citing Israeli officials.
In a conversation with Biden on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the president: “They took dozens of children, bound them up, burned them and executed them. They beheaded soldiers, they mowed down these youngsters who came to a nature festival.”
In his own comments in Tel Aviv on Thursday alongside Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that he had viewed harrowing images of the atrocities.
“It’s impossible for me to look at the photos of families killed – such as the mother, father, and three small children murdered as they sheltered in their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz – and not think of my own children,” said Blinken.
“This was just one of Hamas’s countless acts of terror – in a litany of brutality and inhumanity that, yes, brings to mind the worst of ISIS. Babies slaughtered. Bodies desecrated.
“Young people burned alive. Women raped. Parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents,” Blinken said.
“How are we even to understand this, to digest this?”
The death toll in Israel surpassed 1,300 people on Thursday, most of them civilians, as authorities continued to find and identify human remains in a number of Gaza border towns overrun by Hamas.