Israeli Survivor Recounts Horrific Kibbutz Attack by Hamas Militants

Hamas Militants

Avidor Schwartzman, a resident of Kfar Aza kibbutz, had a normal Saturday morning until he heard loud noises outside his house. He thought it was just another rocket attack from Gaza, a Palestinian territory under Israeli blockade. He grabbed his one-year-old daughter and moved to a safe room, expecting the situation to be over soon.

Hamas Militants

For the next 18 hours, he and his wife lived in fear as they heard gunshots, explosions, and Arabic voices outside their home. They did not know that dozens of Hamas militants had infiltrated the kibbutz, killing and kidnapping many of their neighbors. They did not know that their parents, who lived nearby, were among the victims.

“They didn’t stop shooting at our home,” Schwartzman told Reuters in Herzliya, where they are staying with relatives. “I heard people talking in Arabic. And all in the time, shooting, we heard shooting like automatic fire.”

To his huge relief, his daughter made no sound as they froze in terror. He said he felt “complete, paralysing terror”.

A scene of carnage

It was only when the army came to rescue them that they realized the extent of the horror. The kibbutz, a collective farming community of about a thousand people, was turned into a warzone.

“It looked like something between a warzone and pure hell. Bodies everywhere and, and bullet holes everywhere. And my wife’s parents are nowhere to be found,” he said.

Schwartzman said he could not believe that people had come to their peaceful community “just to kill people”. He said the militants had taken advantage of the divisions among Israelis, who have been protesting against the government’s handling of the economic crisis, the Palestinian issue, and the treatment of prisoners in Israeli jails.

A wave of violence

The kibbutz attack was part of a coordinated assault by Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, on several locations in Israel on Saturday. The group said it was avenging the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli air strikes in recent weeks.

The air strikes were a response to the rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups from Gaza, which have targeted Israeli cities and towns. The rockets have been mostly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, but some have caused casualties and damage.

The violence has escalated to a level not seen since the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis. The international community has called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to negotiations, but both sides have rejected any compromise.

The Israeli military said on Monday it had called up 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault on Hamas after the group killed hundreds of Israelis and took dozens hostage.

A plea for peace

Schwartzman said he did not want to talk in terms of retaliation or vengeance but wanted the authorities to put an end to the tragedy. He said he hoped for a peaceful solution that would allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in dignity and security.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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