A member of an Israeli recovery team said that at one of the Israeli communities attacked by Hamas terrorists, about 80 percent of an estimated 280 bodies—including children—showed signs of torture.
Yossi Landau, who has been with the Israeli nongovernmental rescue and recovery organization ZAKA for 33 years, described the horror he and his team witnessed at Kibbutz Be’eri, where the atrocities included rapes, mutilations, and beheadings.
“Two piles of 10 children each were tied at the back, burned to death,” he said in an interview with Sky News, adding that “this is something beyond, this is next level.”
Mr. Landau added that some of the bodies had been booby trapped, making recovery efforts more difficult—and dangerous.
The horrific scenes at Kibbutz Be’eri were described in similar terms by Mendy Havin, a ZAKA commander, in an earlier interview with Epoch Israel.
“At the end of the kibbutz, in a house that was completely destroyed, they [the babies] are sitting on a fence outside of the house,” Mr. Haviv recalled. “Their bodies are burned. Their parents, sitting in front of them, are slaughtered.”
Hamas terrorists infiltrated southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,400 Israelis, the vast majority civilians.
The U.S. government has said that 30 American citizens were among those killed.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement released Sunday.
Hamas Torture Manual
Over the weekend, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog revealed what he described as a Hamas “instruction guide” that had allegedly been found on the body of a killed terrorist, which described how to torture and kidnap civilians.
“This was found on the body of one of the terrorists. This is a booklet, OK?” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Sunday, while holding up a pamphlet featuring the image of a Hamas terrorist.
“This booklet is instruction guide, how to go into a civilian premises—into a kibbutz, a city, a moshav—how to break in and first thing, what do you do when you find the citizens? You torture them,” Mr. Herzog said. “This is the booklet. It says exactly how to torture them, how to abduct them, how to kidnap them.”
Calling Hamas an “extremely cruel and inhumane enemy,” Mr. Herzog said he saw first-hand the atrocities committed by members of the terror group at Kibbutz Be’eri, which is near the Gaza Strip.
“I saw the skull of a woman, in which house I visited, the house totally destroyed, totally destroyed, and they just cut her head off,” Mr. Herzog said. “I saw a pool of blood in that house where the picture of the children is hanging, and the grandchildren are hanging on the wall with the knives and the hatchets which they went in.”
“I saw the most horrific scenes possible,” he said.
‘On the Verge of the Abyss’
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement Sunday that the world is “on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East.”
He appealed to both Israel and Hamas to take deescalatory steps on humanitarian grounds.
“To Hamas, the hostages must be released immediately without conditions,” he said.
Israeli forces on Monday updated the number of hostages taken by Hamas terrorists and held in Gaza to 199. Most of the hostages are believed to be civilians, ranging from babies to people in their 80s.
Hamas has said it is prepared to trade the captives for thousands of Palestinians held by Israel in the kind of lopsided exchange deals that have been struck in the past.
The U.N. chief’s message for the Israeli side, which has begun a military operation to degrade Hamas’ ability to carry out more attacks and rescue hostages, was an appeal for humanitarian corridors to be respected in order to provide Gaza residents with aid.
“To Israel, rapid and unimpeded aid must be granted for humanitarian supplies and workers for the sake of the civilians in Gaza,” the U.N. chief said.
“Each one of these two objectives are valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips and they must be implemented because it is the right thing to do,” he added.
Gaza’s Hamas-backed health ministry said Monday that at least 2,750 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the day that Hamas operatives launched a series of coordinated terror attacks in Israel, targeting mostly civilians.