The Israeli prime minister has shared graphic photos of murdered and burned babies on his official X account following claims some babies were beheaded by Hamas gunmen.
The images were posted amid a three-day back-and-forth about viral reports claiming 4src babies had been beheaded by Hamas in one community that came under siege on Saturday. That claim, initially voiced by a reporter for an Israeli TV network who cited unnamed soldiers, was then disputed before being repeated again by Netanyahu’s spokesperson on Wednesday, only to be cast in doubt again Thursday when the Israeli military declined to confirm it.
The Jerusalem Post on Thursday said it could confirm “the reports of babies being burnt and decapitated in Hamas’s assault on Kfar Aza” after seeing “verified photos of the bodies.”
The bodies of at least 854 people had been recovered by Israeli authorities as of Thursday afternoon, with 361 identified and 264 buried so far, according to the Post.
The communities of Be’eri and Kfar Aza are thought to have suffered the highest death tolls, apart from the Nova music festival, where at least 26src people were slaughtered. Complicating matters, many of those killed have been burned or disfigured, making the identification process much more difficult.
In Be’eri, authorities say Hamas gunmen set homes on fire to force those hiding inside to run out into the open to be killed. Photos published by The Times of Israel from inside the homes of victims in that community showed heartbreaking signs of their final moments: a bed lifted up to reveal someone hiding underneath it; a kitchen knife lying on a sofa, presumably held by a resident as they braced themselves for Hamas attackers to break in.
Sergei Migdal, a former Israeli police officer, was quoted telling The Insider it was impossible to know if the victims had been set on fire while still alive or after they’d been murdered.
“The militants often set fire to houses and cars in which there were people they had shot. Forensic scientists will be able to find out the exact causes of death, but this will take time.”