Israeli troops who entered the Gaza Strip on Friday to conduct “localized raids” found and recovered the remains of Israelis who have been missing since Hamas’s shock terror massacre on Saturday, according to reports in Hebrew media.
Haaretz reported late Friday that armored and infantry forces who went into the Palestinian enclave, where an estimated 150-200 people are being held hostage by Hamas, retrieved the bodies of an unknown number of people and found some items belonging to people still missing since Saturday’s surprise assault when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel by land, sea, and air, and rampaged through Gaza border communities and a music festival, killing more than 1,300 people, a majority of them civilians.
The Walla news site specified that the bodies were those of Israelis, and indicated that they were recovered close to the border.
Israel declared war in the wake of the Hamas massacres and has since been pounding Gaza with air strikes, saying it is targeting terrorist infrastructure and all areas where Hamas operates or hides.
Israeli forces have also killed some 1,500 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into its territory since Saturday and have captured an unspecified number of them alive.
Authorities and volunteers continue to work to locate and identify human remains of those slaughtered in Gaza border towns by the terrorists.
Troops have been collecting items from terrorists’ bodies, vehicles, and belongings and have found things like a flag of the Islamic State jihadist group on the vest of a terrorist killed during an assault on Kibbutz Sufa, near the Gaza border, as well as religious items, documents and pamphlets with attack plans and schedules, and intelligence information like the number of residents in a given Israeli community.
These items have been posted to a Telegram channel called South First Responders, which has been distributing shocking footage and photos from scenes on kibbutzim and other areas devastated in Saturday’s massacre.
On Friday, the Kan public broadcaster reported that it uncovered a document left behind by a Hamas terrorist in southern Israel that gives orders to terrorists to kill as many civilians as possible in their takeover of the Kibbutz Alumim.
The document in Arabic gives instructions to the terrorist squad tasked with raiding the kibbutz to maximize killings, take hostages, fend off security forces, and wait for further orders, according to the report.
BREAKING: Hamas intentionally targeted elementary schools in Israel, instructed terrorists to seize hostages, move them into Gaza, and to "kill as many people as possible," maps and documents recovered from the bodies of attackers show. https://t.co/UL0vlypmrh
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 13, 2023
Additional documents recovered from terrorists show extensive Hamas plans to target an elementary school and a youth center, kill “as many people as possible” and take hostages quickly into the Gaza Strip from Kibbutz Sa’ad, according to NBC News.
The “top secret” documents reported by NBC include orders for two terror squads to infiltrate the kibbutz near Gaza, “search the Bnei Akiva youth center,” “search the old Da’at school,” “collect hostages,” and “kill as many people as possible.”
Other instructions include besieging the kibbutz dining hall and raiding “the dental office, the supermarket, the dining hall,” an Israel Defense Forces source told NBC. “The level of specificity would cause anyone in the intelligence field’s jaw to drop.”
“I’ve never seen this kind of detailed planning,” for a mass terror attack, an unnamed IDF official told the network.
Additional, detailed attack plans were found for Gaza-area communities including Kfar Aza, Nahal Oz and Alumim and show how Hamas gathered extensive intelligence on every Israeli community targeted for attack on October 7 and gave clear instructions to target women and children, according to the report.
The documents, combined with footage obtained from terrorists’ body cameras, interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, and first-hand testimonies from security forces and first responders in the aftermath of the devastation point to an extensively planned and coordinated Hamas operation to target and kill civilians, including women, children, and elderly people.
Earlier Friday, Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip on “localized raids” to clear the area of potential terrorists and locate missing Israelis, the military said, in what is likely a precursor to a full-scale incursion in response to the weekend shock assault.
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said armored and infantry forces carried out searches and “thwarted anti-tank guided missile squads that intended to infiltrate into Israeli territory.”
“The forces located findings that may help in the effort to locate the missing,” Hagari said. “We will continue to make every effort to find every detail about the missing and hostages,” he added.
Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsch, appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as coordinator of hostages and missing persons, on Friday announced the establishment of a team of some 200 reserve officers to maintain “personal and direct” interaction with the families of the missing. The team is being headed by reserve general Major General (res.) Meir Kalifi, under the aegis of the IDF’s department for hostages and missing persons.
Hirsch said Friday that members of the team will visit each family to provide support. “We have recruited for this important and sensitive mission officers and experienced personnel, who will reach out to the families to assist at this time of uncertainty.”
Hirsch met in Tel Aviv on Friday with representatives of the families and detailed for them what has been done so far, including activities of a negotiation team and a judicial team, his office said. The meeting was attended by some 500 people, including first-degree relatives of those kidnapped and the missing.
Hirsch told them that efforts were being made round the clock to obtain information and that diplomatic efforts had been widened. Relatives raised the demand to establish an immediate humanitarian corridor to enable the transfer of medicines and facilitate doctor’s visits to the hostages.
An estimated 150-200 people were taken hostage by Hamas during its murderous attack last Saturday. The IDF has so far notified the families of 120 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.
Later Friday, Hamas published a propaganda video showing its members holding young Israeli children and babies in Kibbutz Holit in southern Israel last Saturday, in an apparent attempt to downplay its murderous attack.
One clip shows the terrorists giving a child a glass of water to drink, and another clip shows terrorists rocking a baby in a stroller.
Parents of the children are nowhere to be seen. It is not immediately clear if the children were among those taken hostage into Gaza.
Clear evidence has emerged showing that Palestinian terrorists murdered several young children during the Hamas attack.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Tel Aviv on Thursday, cataloged some of what he called Hamas’s “countless acts of terror in a litany of brutality and inhumanity,” specifying, “Babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burned alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents.”
In Tel Aviv on Friday, visiting US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he believes the Hamas terror group’s activities are worse than what he witnessed carried out by the notorious Islamic State terror group a decade ago.
Austin, who served as the commander of CENTCOM, the US forces in the Middle East, from 2013-2016, told Netanyahu that “as you know, I was the guy that initially put the ISIS campaign together and I know a lot about ISIS, and this is worse than what I saw with ISIS.”
On Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office took the extraordinary step of releasing gruesome photos of murdered babies to reporters and the public, seeking to underscore the atrocities carried out by Hamas in the savage rampage on Saturday.
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.”