Deadliest attack in the Israel’s history: facts by Ron Paz

On October 7th, 2023, Israel was subjected to one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in recent history, resulting in nearly 1,200 fatalities, the majority of whom were civilians, and leaving over 4,850 injured. This event marked the largest attack by terrorists in terms of the assailant count, approximately 3,000, and was the deadliest incident following September 11, in terms of victim count. The nature of the attack was particularly brutal, with individuals targeted through shooting, stabbing, burning, explosions, and decapitation, primarily carried out by members of Hamas.

Furthermore, in an unprecedented act within the context of the free world, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and associated groups abducted 250 individuals to Gaza. The ages of these kidnapped civilians ranged from as young as nine months to as old as 86 years, including 30 children under 16 and seven individuals aged 83 or older. The Red Cross has been denied access to assess the hostages’ conditions or even to obtain a list of their names, with at least 15 of them presumed deceased.

On the morning of October 7th, at 06:29, coinciding with the Sabbath and a holy day, a sudden and unprovoked assault was launched, resulting in approximately 3,000 rockets targeting villages, towns, and cities across the nation. Additionally, numerous mortars were launched at every Kibbutz within their range. This initial barrage resulted in the deaths of 19 individuals. In the midst of this extensive barrage, Hamas detonated 30 openings in the border fence using explosives, rockets, and bulldozers. This act facilitated the entry of pickup trucks, motorcycles, and an estimated 3,000 assailants on foot, along with aerial motorized paragliders and naval commandos, into the communities and military bases. Their intentions were clear: to cause death, abduct individuals, and commit acts of sexual violence. Their efforts led to successful incursions into 17 communities, including a significant attack on Ofakim, located 22km from Gaza, where 52 individuals were tragically killed. However, their attempts to infiltrate 9 other communities were thwarted.

The situation escalated into a harrowing ordeal as the attackers, emulating tactics reminiscent of those used by groups like ISIS, pursued a strategy not merely focused on taking lives. Their intent was to sow dread and panic through widespread destruction in numerous communities along the border. This entailed systematically setting ablaze homes and shelters, driving out inhabitants only to target them as they fled from the engulfing fires. The violence was indiscriminate and brutal, involving the execution of parents in the presence of their children, the killing of children before their parents, and the massacre of whole families. Women and girls were subjected to horrific sexual violence, and there was widespread mistreatment of individuals, including infants, as well as desecration of the deceased.

The horror of the events was further intensified by the cruel jubilation of the attackers, who captured their acts on body cameras and brazenly shared their deeds on social media, sometimes targeting the Facebook pages of their victims. In a grim tally, 21 Israeli Arab Muslims lost their lives simply for being at the scenes of these atrocities. Among them, a mother of nine, identifiable by her hijab, was fatally shot. Additionally, six Israeli Arabs were abducted.

The violence did not discriminate by nationality, claiming the lives of 39 Thai farm workers, 10 Nepalese, four Filipino caregivers, three Chinese, two Tanzanians, and other individuals of diverse national origins. A further 25 Thai nationals were kidnapped. The massacre on October 7th transcended the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict, representing a dire assault on human dignity and rights.

The vast majority of those targeted were members of Israel’s Kibbutz communities, known for their liberal, tolerant, and peace-seeking ethos. Significant losses were suffered by Kibbutz Be’eri, with 86 individuals killed and 30 kidnapped, Kibbutz Nir Oz with 38 dead and 75 kidnapped, and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where 56 were murdered and 17 were taken. A poignant detail emerges from Be’eri, where a refrigerator in one of the devastated homes bore a schedule of volunteer shifts for transporting patients from Gaza to Israeli hospitals, an initiative of the “Road to Recovery” NGO.

The attack at the Re’im music festival, an event celebrating “friends, love, and infinite freedom,” was particularly tragic, resulting in 378 attendees being fatally shot. The festival drew a large crowd of young people, of which 38 were kidnapped and scores injured. The survivors of this tragedy are left to endure the long-lasting scars of this traumatic event.

In the aftermath, numerous harrowing accounts have surfaced, detailing acts of unthinkable brutality, such as the atrocious assault on a pregnant woman. Conversely, there are also numerous tales of heroism and selflessness. First responders and local civil security teams displayed extraordinary courage, defending their homes and loved ones against the attackers until their ammunition was depleted. Off-duty soldiers spontaneously headed towards the danger to protect civilians, and unarmed festival-goers risked their lives to evacuate others from the scene, repeatedly returning to rescue more individuals, with some paying the ultimate price for their bravery.

The terror attacks spanned over ten hours in most locations, with families seeking refuge in their shelters, desperately securing their doors against terrorists attempting to force entry. In some areas, such as Be’eri, the siege lasted over 40 hours. Once the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had secured the area, it was reported that 1,550 Hamas militants had been neutralized on the Israeli side of the border.

Many militants retreated to Gaza, with some abducting children and elderly individuals as they fled. This was reportedly in pursuit of rewards promised by Hamas, which included $10,000 and an apartment.

The attacks on October 7th targeted a total of 17 locations, including the towns of Sderot and Ofakim, the villages of Netiv Ha’asara and Yachini, and 13 Kibbutzim: Be’eri, Kfar Aza, Nir Oz, Nahal Oz, Holit, Kisufim, Re’im, Nir Itzhak, Alumim, Nirim, Ein Hashlosha, Sufa, and Kerem Shalom.

Defensive efforts successfully repelled terrorists from 6 Kibbutzim: Gevim, Yad Mordechai, Zikim, Mefalsim, Magen, Erez, and three villages: Ein Habsor, Mivtachim, Pri Gan.

The narrative describes a deeply polarized and tragic situation following the events of October 7th. In the Gaza Strip, there was a significant expression of support for the attackers, reflecting deep-seated tensions and longstanding grievances. Mahmoud Abbas’s stance, as described, and the reported support among Palestinians for the actions taken on that day underscore the profound divisions and the intensity of the conflict.

Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas aimed at dismantling the military capabilities of Hamas and ensuring the return of kidnapped individuals highlights the severity of the situation and the lengths to which Israel would go to protect its citizens and sovereignty. The actions taken by Israel are framed as measures of self-defense and preservation rather than retribution.

The reference to President Joe Biden’s speech as monumental and historical indicates a significant international response to the events, suggesting that the repercussions and the international community’s reaction to these tragic events were of notable importance and impact.