Warning: This article includes graphic descriptions that could be disturbing to some readers.
Israel on Monday invited 200 foreign journalists to view horrific footage and images from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on the country, with attending journalists reporting that some colleagues burst into tears as they viewed clips of beheadings, torture, murder, and more.
Israeli officials said the graphic screening, hosted at a Tel Aviv military base, was necessary to fight against what they claim are lies pushed by Hamas that are akin to a “Holocaust denial-like phenomenon.”
Recording was not permitted inside the screening, reportedly out of respect for the families of the slain and maimed Israelis captured on camera. A single clip was permitted to leave the base, which appeared to show an Israeli driver and passenger being gunned down by Hamas fighters with rifles.
That scene ends with a Hamas fighter’s body cam showing two bodies slouched over in the car.
The IDF just screened 43 minutes of horrors from the Hamas massacre on October 7 for foreign journalists. I was not there, my colleague @cjkeller8 was.
Here is the one minute of footage approved for mass publication at this point, barring most of it out of respect for the dead. pic.twitter.com/UDmQSrkYBL
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) October 23, 2023
The Times of Israel reported that the compilation of apparent atrocities totaled 43 minutes.
The Guardian, an English newspaper, reported that the clips included the killing of children and decapitation of Israelis. The footage was gathered from security cameras, body cameras, vehicle dashboard cameras, social media accounts, and from mobile phones, which “left some reporters in tears.”
Jotam Confino, a British journalist in attendance, shared a horrifying list of things included in the screening. He described watching clips of an man being beheaded with a shovel, an unarmed father being killed by a grenade as he sheltered with his weeping young sons, and a young girl—aged between 7 to 9—being shot dead.
I just saw indescribable, raw footage of Hamas’ massacre along with 100 other international journalists, provided by Israeli authorities. Here are the notes I took:
1: Hamas terrorist screaming Allah Akhbah as he frantically tries to behead a dead man with a shovel.
— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) October 23, 2023
In an audio recording played for the press, Confino reported that a Hamas militant called his parents to brag about his killing, saying, “I killed 10 Jews with my own hands. I’m using the dead Jewish woman’s phone to call you now.”
The Guardian reported that a clip showed an Israeli woman checking a burned woman’s corpse to see if it was a family member. The dead woman’s dress “was pulled up to her waist and her underpants had been removed,” the paper wrote. Still images reportedly showed slain Israelis spread across highways, having been killed and their cars reportedly stolen.
In remarks following the screening, Major Gen. Michael Edelstein of the Israel Defense Forces said that the military has evidence of “Iranian involvement” in the multi-front Oct. 7 attack—though he said he “cannot elaborate” on the claims.
“You definitely can see evidence, we have evidence of Iranian involvement,” he said, according to British news network Sky News. “I cannot elaborate too much, but you can understand what I mean. Not just about equipment but more than this.”
The attack left 1,400 Israelis dead and over 200 others kidnapped, Israeli authorities said. A vast majority of those killed were civilians, including women, children, and the elderly.
Israel’s death toll has remained largely stagnant since the surprise attack. Air strikes have taken a toll on Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza, however, where authorities claim its death toll had eclipsed 5,000 people by Monday.
Life for a majority of civilians in Gaza has been completely uprooted. More than half of its population have been displaced in Israel’s retaliatory bombing, creating a humanitarian crisis as Palestinians are desperately low on drinking water, food and medicine, the United Nations said Monday.