The IDF says Hamas captured ‘hostages and prisoners of war’ during the attack on Israel.


Hamas captured dozens of Israelis during its deadly attack on Israel on Saturday, the Israeli military said, as videos emerged of Israeli soldiers and civilians being picked up by fighters from the Palestinian militant group.

Hamas fired rockets from Gaza and sent gunmen into Israeli territory, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that the country was “at war.” An Israeli official told CNN Saturday night that at least 300 people in Israel were killed in the unusual attack, and Israeli media reported that at least 1,500 people were injured.

At least 232 Palestinians were killed and 1,697 wounded in Gaza on Saturday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said in a statement.

At least one Israeli soldier has been taken prisoner, a new video geolocated and verified by CNN shows.

The video, posted on Hamas’ official social media accounts, shows militants pulling two visibly frightened and stunned soldiers out of a disabled tank. It is not clear from the video how the tank was disabled, but Hamas has used drones to bomb Israeli tanks before.

A soldier can then be seen being kicked to the ground by militants in a short segment of the video. In another clip, the soldier is seen lying motionless on the ground.

Another soldier is seen being led by Hamas militants. A third soldier – his face heavily bloodied – is seen lying motionless on the ground near the tank’s tracks. CNN does not know the current whereabouts or status of the three soldiers.

A second video taken later shows several armed men surrounding the tank. The three soldiers are nowhere to be seen.

Gunmen are then seen pulling a fourth Israeli soldier from the tank. The soldier is motionless as he is dragged over the side of the tank and onto the ground. Armed men are seen stabbing his body.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed to have captured “dozens” of Israelis on Saturday.

“We bring good news to our (Palestinian) prisoners and our people that the Al-Qassam Brigades have dozens of captured (Israeli) officers and soldiers,” Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeidah said in a post on Telegram. “They have been secured in safe locations and resistance tunnels.”

In a recorded audio message released later on Saturday, Obedah said all the captured Israelis were “in all axes in the Gaza Strip.”

He added that what happens to the people of the Gaza Strip will happen to them and avoid miscalculation.

On Saturday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said the number of civilians captured by Hamas was “unfortunately, a significant number.”

“It is unprecedented in our history that we have so many Israeli citizens in the hands of a terrorist organization,” spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conrex told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“These are numbers that we have never seen before and they are, they are unprecedented, and they will force an unprecedented response from Israel,” Conreux said.

Earlier on Saturday, IDF spokesman Brig. General Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement that Israeli soldiers had been killed and captured, and civilians had also been kidnapped. He described any kidnapping as a “war crime”.

Hamas has not taken hostages in years. Until now, it was known to have captured two civilians who crossed the border and were captured, as well as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

Gilad Shalit, a 19-year-old soldier, was arrested in 2006 and held for five years before being released, in which more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were released.

CNN contacted the IDF about the second video, but it declined to comment.

CNN has geolocated the video and can report that it was taken near the border wall along the eastern Gaza border.

Hamas also appears to have captured Israelis in and near Gaza, geolocation videos from CNN show.

In a video geolocated by CNN in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza, a barefoot woman is seen being pulled from the trunk of a Jeep by a gunman and then forced into the back seat of the vehicle. His face is bleeding, and his wrists appear to be cable-tied behind his back. The jeep bears an IDF license plate, suggesting that it was stolen and brought to Gaza.

A second video, which shows Hamas militants taking several Israelis hostage, was geolocated by CNN from Beri in southern Israel, a village near Gaza.

01:06 – Source: CNN

The video shows Hamas holding a woman hostage near Gaza.

IDF says two ‘main focal points’

Hagari says Ofacom are “main focal points” in the Negev and Bari, near the Gaza Strip, where there are hostage situations.

“We are fighting in 22 places,” he said without elaborating.

Hagari said the IDF is preparing for a ground incursion, and “all options are on the table.”

He said “hundreds” of IDF troops would be called up.

“A massive reserve mobilization has begun,” he said. There are four divisions that we are bringing to Gaza immediately. 31 regular battalions are already in Otif and south. Tanks have also been brought to the strip.

“The main effort is to kill all the terrorists on the fence, all those who try to return to the strip. First, we will deal with fire from the air, and then also with heavy ground equipment.”

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